8th December 1972
Bulldozers will bring an end to a 200-year-old business
A red hot iron and a glowing fire: Tom the Farrier relives the old days
Mr. Tom Holme at work on the 200-year-old anvil which will shortly go for scrap when the smithy in Bridge Road, Litherland, is demolished to make way for road improvements.

Tom Holme
A week tomorrow Tom the Farrier will shut the gates of his small blacksmith's yard off Bridge Road, Litherland, and bring to a close a 200-year ­old business with which his family have been associated since 1870.
   Every day, for 48 years, Tom Holme has walked to the yard from his home in Sefton Avenue, just as his father and grandfather did before him. But, soon, the bulldozers and workmen will be moving in and the old smithy will he demolished to make way for a new roadway. Heavy lorries will thunder where horses once travelled and the roar of engines will replace the clanging of the hammer on the anvil.
   There is not much call for a farrier nowadays. Tom, last shoed a horse three years ago. Since then he has made a living repairing gates and doing odd jobs, but he still remem­bers the days when business was booming and, as a young lad of 16, he first helped his father, Charles Holme, in the smithy.
Farming community
There was always plenty of work in those days and you had to be tough to survive," said Tom. "Litherland at that time was a farming community and tractors were unheard of. Every farmer had his horses which would be brought to us for shoeing.
   "Then there were the horse-drawn carriages which the gentry owned. They would bring their horses and ponies along to the yard and we would shoe them. We never advertised: we didn't even have a sign on the gates. The people knew where we were and they would come.
   "During the winter, when the farm horses were not working, we were able to earn some extra money by repair­ing the farming implements. We owned the first drilling machine in Litherland."
Sold for scrap
"In latter years, after my father had died, I kept the business going by shoeing police horses, but now the shoes are made by machine and there is no call for the old crafts­man. I am a bachelor and, when I die, I will not be leaving a successor to carry on my work. At 64 I am looking forward to retirement and yet I regret that the old yard will be going." Little is left of the original yard, but the anvil still remains. It is 200 years old and, unless interest in shown in preserving it, it will be sold for scrap, Tom thinks that it will fetch about "30 bob".
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