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University of Necastle Upon TyneTyne Bridge girders SINE Project: structural images of the North East
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Landscape sketch of Ford Forge. (Image from 19TH CENTURY AD)

Notes about the Image:
'This is a well known and most useful sketch, made by John Bailey in 1779. In his engraving… we see the double-waterwheeled Heatherslaw corn mill on the west bank of the Till (to the right) facing Ford corn mill, the Ford Manor Mill, on the east bank, with the new forge built in front and behind it as seen in this view. The curved dam across the Till is central, with a long pound behind it.

In the book in which this engraving originally appeared, William Hutchinson had quite a bit to say about the Ford Estate, then owned by Sir John Hussey Delaval. He waxed lyrical about what he saw as the natural and the created beauty of the landscape, and attributed much of the inspiration for Delaval's efforts at Ford, including that of establishing the forge, to his wife:

'From the happy taste her Ladyship possesses for a rural life, Sir John has advanced the more rapidly in those works of improvement which mark the adjacent country… No panegyric can pay due praise to those who thus employ their abundant wealth… Not only the pleasure her Ladyship takes in promoting Sir John's attention to the improvements of the adjacent lands, she also, I am informed, was the chief cause of the Iron Manufactory carried on near Ford, being brought to its present magnificence. About a mile down the river, a Plating Forge was erected in 1769, where a large quantity of shovels, spades and other plate-iron works are made, as well for home consumption, as for exportation at the ports of Berwick, Newcastle, etc. The scheme, when carried to its intended extent, will be of great consequence to this part of the country.'

Hutchinson then went on to describe the scene illustrated by Bailey:

'The situation of the Forge is romantic, and the whole scene picturesque. The water to supply the wheels is collected by a dam, and forms a fine canal, from whence it breaks over the wear in a beautiful cascade: and also being intercepted in its lower course by rocks and hillocks, divides itself into several streams. The buildings for the forge, as you look up the river, lay to the left; on the opposite side is a water-corn mill: the vale seen above the canal consists of cultivated and enclosed grounds, which are highly contrasted by the lofty eminences which bound the prospect, finely broken and irregular, through which the light streams, and gives a singular beauty to the offscape: these at the extreme point of view are overlooked by Cheviot, awfully supreme and majestic, on whose brow heavy vapours are generally seen suspended.'

The ‘canal' was, of course, the… result of damming a river to provide water power for industry, but Hutchinson's reaction to the landscape around him, to the picturesque within the sublime, clearly reflected a prevailing aesthetic passion of his age, rather than the prevailing commercial imperatives which brought the forge about.

Structures identified:

Image details:
Stafford Linsley Collection , Collection Reference Number: A3333



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Last Modified 26 March 2004
2002 SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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