Rainbow Forge, 2012

Rainbow Forge, located along the Shirebrook, was the site of a Sickle and Scythe grinding wheel.

George Shephard, the husband of Mary Jermyn constructed the Rainbow Forge Dam and Wheel c 1800. George and Mary lived at Hackenthorpe Hall, which Mary inherited from her parents, John Jermyn and Alice Newbould. A bridle ran from the yard at Hackenthorpe Hall, alongside Hackenthorpe Wood, down to Rainbow Forge.

Prior to Rainbow Forge being constructed, the land was known as Washpool Closes, and was owned by the Jermyns of Hackenthorpe Hall in 1797. In an 1819 Plan it is labelled ‘New Sickle Wheel’ and it is worth noting that Ezra Hutton, Sickle smith of Ridgeway had married Mary Jermyn, which would explain the Jermyns interest in a Sickle wheel. The newly built dam was fed by a newly constructed water channel from Carr Forge. On the 1819 map we can see a long tail channel going from Rainbow Forge, stretching along to the Penny Loaf, and the winding Shire Brook had been straightened. By the time of the 1877 Ordinance Map however, the tail had disappeared, and the outflow drained directly into the Shirebrook.

In 1832, we find Thomas Staniforth of Greenside Hackenthorpe renting both Carr Forge and Rainbow Forge from the Lord of the manor. Thomas was renting Rainbow Forge from George Shephard.

In 1853, John Moore, the son of John Moore of Belbroughton, a man that had relocated to Sheffield in 1851, was tenant of Rainbow Forge, alongside his wife Elizabeth Eyre of Handsworth.

Rainbow Forge, 2012

In 1871 Thomas and Charles Skelton worked at Rainbow Forge, making spades and shovels. It was noted by historian T.L Platts that the water wheels would have been used to drive the tilt hammer, which could be heard thumping away during working hours.

Eventually this premises was forced to close, poor access and transport made work difficult, and with the introduction of rail transport and steam power, there was little interest in the use of the water powered wheels along the Shirebrook.

Although the Rainbow Forge ceased operations entirely by the start of the 20th Century, its name lives on in the form of a local Junior School which opened in 1953.