History Maker Stacey

A blacksmith dedicated to passing her heritage skills on to the next generation

My name is Stacey, I’m a blacksmith based in Edinburgh and I Make History. 

How did you find this role?

I started out as a farrier apprentice shoeing horses and I liked the blacksmithing element much more than anything else. I then discovered that I could do conservation blacksmithing and that’s when I decided to pursue my career in the heritage sector. 

I was drawn to a role in conservation blacksmithing because I love working with historical ironwork and figuring out how people from centuries ago created such incredible things. 

How would you describe your job in three words?

I would describe my role as: diverse, fulfilling, and historical. 

When people think of blacksmithing, they just think of hitting metal with a big hammer but it’s so much more than that. It’s about digging around in our past and using creative methods to bring ideas to life. 

Blacksmiths do lots of small things that make a big difference - there’s lots of behind the scenes stuff happening that people don’t get to see. 

As a blacksmith, I create and conserve historical ironwork and maintain several historic properties across Scotland. 

It’s quite a diverse trade with lots of different aspects to it. The skills have expanded into other careers overtime, including fabricator and welder roles, but they don’t have the necessary skills to maintain and decorate our historic environment. It’s really important that we preserve traditional skills so repairs and maintenance are done right, otherwise it could cause more damage. 

What would five-year-old you think of your job today?

Five-year-old me would be quite surprised at my job today - I was convinced I was going to be a vet. 

My work in the heritage sector is important because without conservation blacksmiths, the beautiful ironwork wouldn’t be there for people to enjoy in the future. 

Blacksmithing is a special skill to have - being able to customise and specially create pieces of work is not an everyday occurrence in most people’s lives. My role has been lifechanging in so many different ways and the skills I’ve acquired through my career have enabled me to travel all over the country for work and visit some incredible places. 

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The thing I enjoy most about my role is being able to go behind the scenes at these historical sites and really immerse myself in our heritage – an opportunity not many people get. I’ve even been to the very top of Glasgow Cathedral to inspect the weathervane there. 

I’m fascinated by the fact that blacksmithing hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. What was happening then is still happening now. 

What has been the most memorable moment in your role to date?

There are many things I’m proud of from my time in a heritage career. My most memorable moment would be the roundels I made for King Charles’ coronation. 

One of the stonemasons at HES hand-modelled the roundel - which is a round disc with an image on it – in clay. This particular roundel, the Lion Rampant roundel, was inspired by the Lion panel above the drawbridge at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. The Lion was digitally scanned to produce a 3D model, which in turn was used to create a full-sized 3D pattern from which a mould was created. I then cast it in molten pewter before a 23.5-carat gold gilded finish was hand-applied by a HES painter. 

We created small roundels to present as gifts to the King and a big one that was put on the box that the Stone of Destiny sits in. 

Blacksmithing is a wonderful and fulfilling career. If you’re looking for information, reach out to bodies like HES who will be able to point you in the right direction. 

The role

Through her role with HES, Stacey is now passing on the skills she’s learned to an apprentice. Blacksmiths have the opportunity to gain practical experience, learning from experts in their chosen field or craft, while using traditional metal forging techniques as well as modern technology. As part of HES’ wider Craft Fellow programme, blacksmiths receive mentoring and training across a variety of trade skills including forging, welding, fabrication, and finishing techniques. 

Discover blacksmithing with HES