Richard Manton, who was the grandson of Freddie
Crouch, Harrold's last blacksmith, has provided a fascinating account
of the characters and conditions of the day. Because the smithy
was situated next to the school, it was a source of interest to
generations of children, and a meeting place where the old and out-of-work
gathered and exchanged news.
Before the peace of the countryside was broken
by the advent of the internal combustion engine, the sound of the
blacksmith's hammer striking work on the anvil would have been one
of the few sounds to compete with that of the church clock. There
was the spectacle of overheated iron sparkling in the forge like
a child's firework, and that characteristic ammoniacal smell of
singeing horses' hooves when they were shod.
When Harrold lost its village blacksmith and
smithy on the village green in 1941, it was the end of an era. The
village was deprived simultaneously of a well-loved character, and
one of its central features.