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Cousland Smiddy

Located in Cousland (Midlothian), 2 miles (3 km) east northeast of Dalkeith, this smiddy has been the work-place of the village blacksmith since 1703 and is being developed as a unique working local history museum and educational resource. When the last blacksmith retired in 1989 and it seemed the smiddy would close, the Cousland Smiddy Trust was established by the villagers to preserve the tradition. As an agricultural blacksmith, the principal tasks had been the shoeing of horses and repairing farm implements. The museum will demonstrate the life and work of a typical village blacksmith and the Trust has secured the services of a new blacksmith ensuring that the skills continue, with the intention of providing a viewing area and interpretation facilities for the public.

With charitable support, the trust is in the process of restoring the blacksmith's shop, cottage and garden, together with conserving and cataloguing tools and artefacts which represent more than 300 years of continuous activity. Rare equipment includes early belt driven machinery and a hand-driven bellows in the smiddy. Adjacent cottages are being developed as an exhibition for visitors and a meeting area for villagers. Further, the intention is to create a picnic area and an organic kitchen garden, while the paddock will be returned to its original condition, when it was used as grazing for horses waiting to be shod.

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