Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Tyneside. North-East England
Shotley Bridge History
Hello Folks, and thank-you for the warm welcome.
Because I live a mere 40 minutes from Shotley Bridge, you would have expected me – and this applies to almost everyone here on Tyneside and its environs – to have known at least a little about the sword-makers. However, it was only when I came across a local-history publication, regarding the SB Smiths, about twenty years ago, that my attention was alerted. The book, published in 1973, and written by David Richardson – the grandson of Mary Oley (the penultimate resident extant of the Solingen immigrants) had been the go-to source of information until David Atkinson brought things up to date in 1987. This book was subsequently revised and updated by John G. Bygate at the turn of this century (isn't it strange to have to specify which century is turning?); and until Richard H. Bezdek brought fresh knowledge and insight to the history in his book 'Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland' there was precious little else other than spurious articles here and there such as were mentioned by your own Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
Consequently, further investigations were confined to simply keeping an ear cocked until a friend, who works around the area giving talks on local history and heritage, asked me for any subjects she might pursue, and I suggested the SB sword-makers, little realising that she expected me to present her with all the salient facts and etc (story of my life).
As I began to refresh and update my knowledge of the subject I realised there was a great deal missing and a great deal in error (the business of Mohll and Mole being a perfect example) that demanded diligent research.
I've been at it, off and on, for most of this year now; found an SB sword (I hope); learned, by osmosis, much that is of interest but not necessarily pertinent; and realised there was sufficient material for a new book; although, we are talking about a self-published, local-history booklet here, such as I have successfully achieved before on alternative subjects.
Obviously, I can't begin to detail all the material I have accumulated this far, but one thing keeps cropping-up again and again that has led me to suspect we may have all been the subjects of a gigantic ruse, and that is the total absence of an SB made trefoil short-sword to date. However, "The Smallsword in England", James Aylward, 1945, may change my mind once I have acquired said book – thank-you Jim – so I am about to buy a copy forthwith. That aside, has anyone ever seen one?
OK: hopefully, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Best Regards, Keith.
ps. Just to whet your appetites, I have attached an exceptional couple of pictures.