AN artist blacksmith is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his business by hosting an exhibition of his work.

Brian Russell, of Little Newsham Forge, in Teesdale, County Durham, qualified in Art and Design at Sunderland Technical College in 1974.

Having been drawn to metal work and decorative forgework in particular, in June 1976 Mr Russell took over the 250-year-old blacksmith’s shop in Little Newsham with the help of landowner, Guy Beadon.

Little did he know the business would go from strength to strength and since opening, Mr Russell has doubled the size of the workshop and made many significant pieces including gates, railings and sculptures, and demonstrated his techniques to blacksmiths in several European countries, the USA and Canada.

Now the 64-year-old has created some of the pieces he designed throughout his career and is displaying them at The Witham, in Barnard Castle, as a thank you to everyone who has supported him.

“Most of the designs in the exhibition are from drawings that I did 10 to 20 years ago, which for one reason or another never went ahead, so this was a good opportunity to make some of them,” he said.

“Fortunately enough people appreciate our work to keep us busy-and of course I’m really pleased to be able to stage this exhibition to mark our anniversary.”

Brian works in the forge with his son Ivan and Tom Savage, from Stockton, both of whom contributed to the work in the exhibition. His wife, Hilda, who supported him financially in the early years, handles the bookwork.

“There is a great deal of satisfaction in the job from the initial design to the installation and i consider myself lucky to have chosen such an enjoyable career,” he added.

The exhibition will run until Saturday, June 25, from 10am until 4pm.

For more information visit