The Drovers Forge has been an important part of the Leadgate life for many years, Jim started his engineering career as an apprentice at Drovers Forge back in 1995, and from then his main jobs have remained consistent, covering everything from making gates and fences to fabricating vehicle sub-frames. Jim’s expertise extends to installing beams on construction sites and undertaking repairs on heavy machinery like tractors and diggers. 

Some recent projects include crafting a ‘Sword in a Stone’ for a local charity fundraiser and repurposing shipping containers into fitness facilities.

While the traditional tools of the trade such as forges, hammers, and anvils remain accessible to Jim at the workshop, he also uses modern technology to streamline his work, from Thermal welders, pillar drills, ornamental bending machines, and an assortment of handheld tools to aid his craft.

Small-scale workshops like Drovers Forge play a pivotal role in their communities by fostering a culture of repair and reuse. These establishments, manned by skilled artisans like Jim, possess the expertise to create or mend a multitude of items, making them invaluable assets to their localities.

Story and photography by George Ledger, Consett in Focus

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