Kirkstall Forge

From Kirkstall Forge Locks can be seen the remains of  the 17th Century Kirkstall Forge. The present forge was probably founded by the Spencer family and obtained it's power from an early medieval goit or head-race taking water from Cow Beck in the Hawksworth valley.  

Originally this goit went down to the mill pond near Abbey House to serve the monastery corn mill. This power source proved inadequate so a dam was built across the Aire at Newlay with a half mile long goit (Kirkstall Forge Goit) taking the water  to the forge.

The arched stone walls of the 17th Century workshops still contain tilt-hammers of c1676 and c1740 and a slitting mill, all driven by undershot cast iron waterwheels. In addition there are two drop forge hammers of the 1850's.

Over the centuries the forge was considerably expanded and gained a reputation for manufacturing wrought iron and mechanical engineering products. The last company to own the site, Dana Spicer, sold the site off and the majority of buildings excluding the 17th Century buildings were demolished to make way for residential developments and light industries. Part of the new development will include the restoration of the Kirkstall Forge.

Kirkstall Forge buildings as viewed from the northwest side with the two ton crane in the foreground

 The undershot water wheel patiently waiting for restoration.

  Two ton rail travelling crane built by Kirkstall Forge for the Isle of Wight Railway in 1865

Inscription about the crane

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