Wipe your feet outside, please…

Following last week’s exploration of old maps covering Lichfield, David Evans – top reader, article writer and local history buff – went exploring in Ye Olde City with a new camera. He thought Kate, from the essential Lichfield Lore, might be interested in his observations.

The Forge in Lombard Street. That's one old beam, there - wonder what the metal brace is for, fixed to it in the right-hand doorway? Great chimneys, too. Image expertly taken by David Evans. Looking good!

David mailed me the following with his photo:

Hi Bob

Street-walking around Lichfield this morning… [Really? – Bob] I think this is the smithy. It was Bates taxis yard in 1960sish. The faded red doors led to a big yard. The adjacent house, green door, is called The Forge. Possibly moved from across the road to give bigger space for the workshop long time ago? I may have more info in a few days …another mail to send.

Trying a new camera… no chapter on ‘guesswork’ fingers crossed!



Further, David sent me this, later on, a really interesting question, and one I’ve been pondering for several days.

I must have passed that doorway on countless occasions and not noticed the boot scrapers. Wow! Picture courtesy David Evans.

David added:

Lombard’s lost smithy set me thinking…..

No horses in the city anymore = no horse buns to clean = no need for boot scrapers…..

Only a few left now. There are some in Bore Street and just a few in Dam Street.

Another part of history disappearing!



This raises an interesting point. David is quite right, they’re a disappearing thing. Doesn’t the Cathedral have them? I know many rural churches do. Are there any other feature of architectural curiosity like this that are on the wane, or gone for good? I know [Howmuch] is fascinated by the sweeping access plates many chimneys have at their base. They certainly were’t universal, and only seems present on quite large houses. Are there any rope bell pulls left locally?

Your discussion and comment is welcome…

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7 Responses to Wipe your feet outside, please…

  1. Mike hawes says:

    Not so much round here but in Stoke On Trent the lines of terraced houses ,many still have the boot scrapers, for the men that worked either in the mines or the clay in the potteries.

  2. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    Stafford Blue brick kerbstones were the norm at one time. Now, all gone !



  3. Thanks again!This is great stuff, together with Roger’s list of blacksmiths in the area.
    As for the footscrapers, I don’t know if they have them outside the Cathedral….I’ll be looking out for them everywhere now though! I like these architectural curiosities too, my Mum has an old bread oven in her wall, I’ll have to take a photo.

  4. Dave Shaw Cracknell says:

    Hi The Forge certainly had taxis but also in the 60’s still had someone making bits.On the right hand set of red doors for years had various hinges and door fixings attached. The metal brace had various uses, and I do remember a big horse having its hoof held by a rope to help fitting of a shoe and a taxi with its engine part out held by a health and safety nighmare of rope and old chain…it was a long time ago and I was five years old.
    Look along Lombard St I think there are one or two boot scrapers around.

    I think its a shame a lot of street furniture has gone, and we have very little in any sort of record

    Dave (Shaw Cracknell)

  5. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    Tamworth Street..opposite HIndleys, the double shop ( black and white..iron work..was Keys outfitters) has been repainted..I think both doorways have had their scrapers covered by new woodwork ..the scrapers may still be underneath. I think Edyveans chemist shop( now Subway) in Market Street had them, too.

    cheers ,and kind regards to Kate and co


  6. pedro says:

    Hi Bob

    Found this reference in the Lichfield Mercury Feb 14 1908…

    Streets and Highways Committee

    (planning approved) for rebuilding Mr Gallimore’s blacksmith shop in Lombard Street.

    Hope it may be of help to the interest in smithies

    All the best Peter

  7. Pingback: Calling Lichfield history sleuths… « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

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