Read about life at Sumburgh Head, not just for the Light Keepers, but their whole family (image by Frank Bradford) The Smiddy, or Smithy, was once a warm industrious place where Lightkeepers would repair or make equipment required to ensure the smooth operation of the Lighthouse. Horseshoes for the horse which was stabled next door and used to pull cartloads of supplies up the hill were made here.
As you enter the Smiddy, the low lighting and sounds of clinking metal, cooling iron and men at work rekindles the atmosphere of the room. Although no longer used as a Smiddy, this area does tell the stories of the men, women and children who lived at Sumburgh Head when Lightkeepers were responsible for the operation of the light and the safety of mariners. An alternative 'family album' in the centre of the room contains images and stories from many of the men who worked as Lighthouse Keepers - these all form the 'family' of Sumburgh Head.
Restored forge and bellows The forge and bellows which you can see in the Smiddy today, are the original aparatus used from 1822. The firebox was cast in one single piece, which was unusal in itself as these would normally have been constructed from several pieces, not cast in a foundry. This is perhaps why this one survived as well as it did. This piece of equipment was rescued when it fell out of use and kept. During the restoration of the Lighthouse buildings, this was also restored - although it will not work again, the appearance is as it once was.
|We receive no public funding and rely entirely on the generous support of our visitors to keep the site staffed and maintained, the buildings and collections cared for and to welcome visitors through our doors. Please support us by donating now and recommending our site to your friends.