How Wray village went hammer and tongs to forge an industry

Historian David Kenyon looks back on the fascinating history of Wray's nailmaking industry in the 1800s.

Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 10:06 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd May 2018, 10:11 am
David Kenyon - nailmaking in Wray. Nailmaker's workshop. Illustration by Louise Broadway.

In the first part of a two-part series, David details how his great-great grandfather was the last of his ancestors to make nails in Wray village and looks at the processes involved in making nails.

David Kenyon - nailmaking in Wray. A very early photograph of Wray village viewed from the Spout footpath. The single storey building on the right of the photograph was the nailmaking workshop of William Kenyon, the last nailmaker in Wray. The blacksmith's smithy is the building adjoining the gable end of the house in the centre of the photograph. The swill basketmaker's workshop of Tom Bevins had not been built at this time.
David Kenyon - nailmaking in Wray. William Kenyon, David Kenyon's great-great-grandfather, pictured with his wife Anne, was the last of David's ancestors to make nails in the village of Wray. Despite nailmaking being a relatively poorly paid occupation, William was partial to a tankard of ale and, like many nailers at this time, often 'went on the spree.'