On Friday the 4th of July, a group of Birmingham Conservation Trust supporters and volunteers from The Coffin Works ventured over to Wellesbourne for a guided tour of Chedham’s Yard, a Blacksmiths and Wheelwrights yard that had been owned by the Chedham family for 5 generations.
It was a glorious day for the tour, led by the wonderful Krys, a lady with a clear passion for the property. I will myself admit, that once we entered the yard I thought how small it was and that it wouldn’t be very interesting – How wrong I was!!
It is a magical place that you can easily spend a few hours in, so peaceful and tranquil and all the volunteers we met were a delight to chat to. The yard itself looks just like a time capsule (sound familiar?) that has been lovingly preserved with the help of so many enthusiast people and the television programme “Restoration” which of course the won!
We began in the Wheelwrights Workshop and were given a history of the site, how it all began with Thomas Chedham and then how it eventually came down to Bill Chedham after the death of his father Albert Joe in 1966 and the yards closure a year later.
Then onto the Drying Shed, being shown how the wheels are constructed and how the Tyre Bending Machine and Tyring Platform would have been used. We were also show, pieces that were constructed in the Workshops and other more personal items such as Bill’s bicycle, that he used to ride very slowly!
The Blacksmiths Workshop came next with a demonstration from Mike and Mike as they were making nails. They were even showing us the tools they made themselves at the ones in the workshop were part of the collection and couldn’t be used. Personally, one of my favourite items in this room had to be the safety notice by the open fire, a brick with “HOT” written in chalk!
One of the unexpected treats was to see the Vegetable Garden including its very own bunker as a tribute to the war. Complete with their very own Poppies from the Tower of London.
We were then taken to the end of the yard where they have had built a very nice visitor centre and cafe that fits into the surroundings perfectly and were surprised to learn that this site at the end of the yard was the originally part of the River Dean until the had the flow diverted. We also took in a couple of short films on the history of the yard and how it was restored and finished off our visit with a very welcome cup of tea and a slice of delicious cake.
Overall our visit to Chedham’s Yard was an extremely enjoyable one and I hope for one that they will be able to stay open for a long time to come as it is something completely different and unique! And I’d like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone for their time in showing us around and hope to see them you all soon at The Coffin Works for a reciprocal visit!
In 2015 the Yard is open every Saturday from 25th April until 26th September with two special events in October and December.
Find out more about Chedham’s Yard HERE.
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