Mr Neville Barnes served his apprenticeship and started his working life with Mr Rennison, the blacksmith in Gringley-On-The-Hill, Nottinghamshire. He then went on to work with the Blacksmith in Upton, Mr George Smith, in 1934, travelling in each day from Gringley for a while and then, lodged in the village. Seven years later, the passing of Mr Smith, gave Mr Barnes the opportunity to purchase the business, which he did in the April of 1941 and in December of that same year, Neville married and moved into the cottage at the Forge in Padmoor Lane with his wife, Edith.
In those days the main activities were shoeing Horses and repairing Reapers and Binders. Neville’s reserved occupation status enabled him to play a vital role in keeping the local farmers’ equipment repaired and in good working order throughout World War Two.
In later times the business manufactured spares to fit a wide range of agricultural machinery and this was extended further by John Martinson, Neville’s son-in-law, When he joined the business in the early 1980’s.
The business went Limited in January 1981.
Mr Barnes died in October 1999, but the business continued under the direction of John and two of Neville’s daughters, Margeret Martinson and Elizabeth Crow, who had both entered the business directly after leaving school and Mr Barnes’s Widow, Edith.
Neville Barnes Ltd continued to supply agricultural spares and supplies to local businesses and further afield and also with its well equipped workshop and talented staff, was able to handle jobs both large and small. The services included welding and fabrication, machining, forge work and ornamental ironwork.
Over the years many local men had learnt their trade with Neville and numerous tradesmen had found employment within the company. It had also been the family’s pleasure to do various good works for the local community, for example, gifts of ironwork to Upton All Saints Church, including the Vestry screen and Burial Ground gates and the Beacon at the Upton cum Kexby Village Hall, commemorating H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee in June 2002, to name one or two.
In January 2015 Mrs Barnes passed away.
In 2018, the business was sold.
Mr Andrew Cawkwell, who had worked for the company for thirty-three years and his brother and sister-in-law, Mr Stephen Cawkwell and Mrs Rebecca Cawkwell, purchased Neville Barnes Ltd on July 2nd 2018.
Neville Barnes Ltd, with its new owners at the helm, continues to give the same level of service as well as offering an even greater range of products and services. The business is expanding and improving and now boasts a Country Store and a Village Shop.
The Cawkwell family are proud to be continuing the centuries old tradition of having a Blacksmith in the Village.