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The Old Smithy (A.k.a. Forge Stores) and Forge Garage Cottage

A Grade II Listed Building in Penshurst, Kent

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Latitude: 51.1717 / 51°10'18"N

Longitude: 0.1813 / 0°10'52"E

OS Eastings: 552584

OS Northings: 143645

OS Grid: TQ525436

Mapcode National: GBR MP8.JN7

Mapcode Global: VHHQ5.3T54

Plus Code: 9F3255CJ+MG

Entry Name: The Old Smithy (A.k.a. Forge Stores) and Forge Garage Cottage

Listing Date: 10 February 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1396452

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508963

Location: Penshurst, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN11

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Penshurst

Built-Up Area: Penshurst

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Penshurst St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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771/0/10113 HIGH STREET
10-FEB-11 The Old Smithy (a.k.a. Forge Stores) a
nd Forge Garage Cottage

Smithy, now garage and shop, 1891, with cottage extension of 1911 by John M Sturgess.

MATERIALS: Mixture of materials evoking the local vernacular tradition. Right-hand wing is of brick with oak framing and roughcast infill on base of dressed Wealden sandstone. Central and left-hand blocks are sandstone-faced to front and of brick to rear. Cottage has brick lower storey with timber framing, roughcast, shingles and tile-hanging above. All roofs are of clay tile.

PLAN: Smithy building is C-shaped on plan: recessed central workshop range with square partly detached block to left and projecting cross-wing to right; two-storey cottage extension to rear of cross-wing.

EXTERIOR: Workshop range has central dormer with shingled gable bearing moulded barge-boards and a carved pendant at the apex; this originally formed the upper part of a tall five-light bay window whose lower portion was cut away when the present sliding timber doors were installed in 1965. Low flanking mullioned windows survive on either side. Left-hand block has six-light window with stone mullions and a carved datestone bearing the initials PS (for Philip Sidney, second Baron de l'Isle) and the date 1891. Pyramidal roof surmounted by an elaborate wrought-iron finial with a crown of horseshoe nails. Cross-wing to right has tall horseshoe-shaped timber archway flanked by framing panels with heavy curved braces; above is hung a painted timber sign reading 'J F Skinner, smith and coach builder, agent for agricultural implements'. Timber screen within arch contains part-glazed double doors and a leaded overlight. Between arch and screen on either side is a small recess forming a seat or shelf. Two-storey cottage extension to rear of cross-wing has tall corbelled stacks and two projecting half-timbered gables, one jettied and partly shingled, and the other bearing a heraldic panel and the date 1911.

INTERIORS: The workshop block interior lost its two large square forge structures in the 1960s, and is now an open concrete-floored space with a simple king-post roof and boarded cladding to the end gables. Wood-block floor survives to right-hand wing. Cottage interior not inspected but understood to comprise living room, kitchen and bathroom on ground floor and three bedrooms above.

HISTORY: The main part of what is now known as the Old Smithy was built in 1891 by John M Sturgess, land agent to the Penshurst estate, replacing an earlier smithy which stood on the opposite side of the road next to the primary school. Unusually large for a mere village blacksmith, the new building may have been intended to produce metalwork for the estate as a whole. Its design, based on the half-timbered traditional architecture of the Weald, recalls the work of the pioneering vernacular revival architect George Devey (1820-86), who did much of his most important work on and around the Penshurst estate in the third quarter of the C19; however, there is no evidence that any specific design of Devey's was used. A cottage was added to the rear of the smithy in 1911. In around 1965 the smithy was converted into a garage; the central workshop block was altered to allow motor vehicle access, which resulted in the demolition of the original forges and chimney and the insertion of two large sliding doors on the entrance front.

Jill Allibone, notes on Leigh and Penshurst for the Victorian Society (1989).
Plans for garage alterations held by the Penshurst estate (1965).

The Old Smithy (a.k.a. Forge Stores) and Forge Garage Cottage are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality: a skilful essay in the vernacular revival manner, with strong massing and well-crafted timber detailing
* Symbolic interest: expresses its industrial purpose in the Picturesque manner through striking visual symbolism
* Group value: with the Grade II* listed Star House, and as part of a larger, historically significant ensemble of vernacular revival buildings in the centre of Penshurst

Reasons for Listing

Yes list.

Recommended Books

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