In 1990 journalist Joanne Colley from the Westmoreland Gazette featured a story about a charcoal burner called Walter Lloyd. It begins,
“Lakeland charcoal burner Walter Lloyd was someone I was looking forward to meeting, and the experience wasn’t disappointing. The middle of a wood just outside Bouth on a fresh January morning is not somewhere you would expect to find a Cambridge University graduate and ex-emergency planning officer from Greater Manchester but then Walter is no ordinary man. Home is a gypsy caravan, an old sink unit, a cupboard, the odd chair and a kettle on the fire.”
Walter is now 89, but not much of the above has changed, except for him no longer being a charcoal burner – though he’ll still gladly show you all the ins and outs!
More recently, we were fortunate to have the Westmoreland Gazette come over to Walter’s current abode for a photo shoot and interview in the early stages of preparing for the Walter’s Tools project. Their article was instrumental in the great response from potential volunteers, so thanks to them, and thanks to all the volunteers who have got in touch, and been down to help out! The online version of the article is here.
Early in the project, once the space was up and running, we wanted to create a logo for Walter’s Tools and thought back to the original meaning of the word ‘brand’ which seemed so fitting for this project. Our star blacksmith, Sean Bainbridge, knocked up a letter W and that is how we came up with the look!
Walter Lloyd, at the remarkable age of 89, is a former charcoal burner, fell pony breeder and bow top wagon maker. He has an extensive collection of hand tools that he’s acquired over the last 3o years, relating to coppicing, coopering, tanning, blacksmithing, scything, basket making…you name it, it’s probably there. He is also a fantastic story teller, and has one for nearly every object.
We are The Woodmanship Trust, and have been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Sharing Heritage’ grant to conduct Walter’s Tools – a restoration project to turn Walter’s collection into a usable public tool library. We have a great task ahead of us sorting, restoring and cataloguing around 300 tools with the able help of volunteers, ready for the library which will be stored at Stott Park Bobbin Mill from 2015.
If you’d like to be involved, whether to offer expert advice or to come and help as a volunteer, please contact us through this blog, via twitter @walterstools, or by email walterstools[AT]gmail[DOT]com