9am to 5pm


The course

The course will take place in the 150 year old Museum smithy, where everything is done as it would have been more than a century ago.  Students will make a simple poker.


Martin Fox's background includes training as an architect, a degree in art history, and working as a full time archaeologist through most of the 1970s both in England and South America.  He has been a designer and Project Manager at Gatwick Airport for 30 years. He trained as a blacksmith in 1992 at Plumpton Agricultural college and has been demonstrating blacksmithing at the Museum for over 15 years.  His interests are varied, and include timber framing, furniture restoration, and anything to do with building.


The course is limited to four participants, who will receive practical tuition and hands-on experience with materials provided.

Materials & Tools

Please wear old clothing which covers arms and legs, and wear sturdy footwear, and bring leather-palmed gloves and protective goggles.  If you have one, please bring a 2-3 lb ball or cross-pien hammer. Please make sure that the head is a tight fit to the hammer.

Optional preparation suggestion from the tutor: If you do not use a hammer on a regular basis try buying a pack of 50mm. (2 inch) nails and practice driving them straight into a piece of softwood, say 100x50 (4x2 inches). After practice try to get the nail in with three blows (fingers holding the nail only for the first) straight and true. Also hit the wood directly with the hammer, try to get the full imprint of the head. For this you will need a hammer with a weight of between 2-3.5 lbs. If your hammer is lighter try shorter nails.


£90 per person to include materials, tuition, tea and coffee. Please bring any other refreshment you require. The café will be open for lunch.

The museum

The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits.  It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses.  The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.

To book, download a form here. Alternatively, fill in the booking request below. Please read our terms and conditions before booking.

Make a Booking Request

This is an initial booking request form, and does not guarantee a place on the course. The Adult Learning Team will check the availability of the course, and reply to you as soon as possible - usually within one working day.