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3rd generation East End blacksmith forges ahead online

PUBLISHED: 16:46 07 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:46 07 October 2014

Neil Stuart at his blacksmith's forge at Stepney city farm

Neil Stuart at his blacksmith's forge at Stepney city farm

1000Londoners.com

Neil Stuart thought he would have a quiet life working away at his blacksmith’s forge  in London’s East End.

But a camera crew followed a day in the life of the grandfather at Stepney City Farm who is a third-generation blacksmith.

Suddenly, he’s a global star on the internet and in just six weeks has notched up 1,600 hits from fans around the world going online at 1000Londoners.com to see him at work.

The three-minute film follows Neil at work and how he started learning his trade at 14 from his father, just like his father before him.

Neil runs a workshop in the city farm in Stepney Way—and admits it is a dangerous job with occupational hazards such as third-degree burns, ripped finger and broken toes!

But the inherent love of the trade keeps him involved.

Neil had to adapt to the de-industrialisation of the 1970s, like many tradesmen, and now practices as a design blacksmith, which sits at odds with the more traditional work of his father and grandfather.

This film is part of ‘1,000 Londoners’, a documentary series by Chocolate Films over the next five years, on a new digital channel focusing on creating video portraits of Londoners.

It has a range of three-minute stories of everyday London folk, including a mum who brought her community together, a cheeky Chelsea Pensioner and a new West End star who’s living her dream.

But Neil, who lives near east London’s Victoria Park, wonders in this modern digital age if he will be able to pass on his third-generation skills to his grandchildren.


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