You may not know his name, but you will certainly know his work.

In a nondescript shed, on a nondescript Stratford street, blacksmith Joe Parkes spends hours each day, forging things of great beauty out of a roaring hot fire and pieces of heavy iron.

The forge converts Westpoint coal into bitumen coal which burns for three times longer.
The forge converts Westpoint coal into bitumen coal which burns for three times longer.

Tall, bearded, wearing dusty overalls and his hands covered in dirt from the workshop, Joe lights up when he talks about his craft.

"I've always loved it, ever since I first had a go when I was 12."

Joe Parkes is pictured here creating a freehand scroll using his forge, a hammer and his talent.
Joe Parkes is pictured here creating a freehand scroll using his forge, a hammer and his talent.

Joe's grandfather was a blacksmith and in 1958 his mother organised for him to become his grandad's apprentice.

"School wasn't for me, not at all, and I think she got fed up with me skipping school and not doing my work, so she paid my indenture to my grandad for me to learn the trade."

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Joe says his mum paid three pounds

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