Torphins man takes over at the smiddy

The Torphins Smiddy: Allie Anderson by the 100-year-old door
The Torphins Smiddy: Allie Anderson by the 100-year-old door

A man who worked in the Pitmedden Smiddy as a 14-year old boy is now returning to it 40 years later, to fix it up and run it.

Ally Anderson, originally from Torphins but currently staying in Tough, worked at the smiddy nearly 40 years ago, when it was run by a man called Heinz Bolhart, a German POW from WWII who decided to stay on after the war.

On his move back to the smiddy, Ally said: “I was doing engineering in the oil industry, but I found it was getting too cut-throat in Aberdeen, and decided I’d had enough of it. I decided I wanted to do something more community-based.”

The smiddy was last run by the late Dougie Reid, a much-loved local man who sadly died in December of last year.

But Ally is confident it will be a thriving business once again, and an assett to Torphins.

“When this place was going, even just a couple of years ago, there were people queuing out the door to get their stuff done,” he explained.

“When Dougie had it, there was a big selection of bolts for various things, saving the local guys from having to go all the way to Aberdeen.

“Part of my plan is to get that back in here, and that will take some time, but like anything, it all depends on clients coming back.”

As part of the rental agreement, Ally has to get the place back up to a working standard within three years.

“The building’s in a fair state, as it’s easy to see, but I’m slowly getting there,” he said.

A lot of the building appears as if it’s been unchanged for many years, but the history of the smiddy is laced throughout the structure, from the old hearth, to the old door, which might well have hung on its hinges for a century.

“That was the door when I worked here as a boy,” said Ally, “and I think it’s probably about 100-years-old.”

Granville the cat, who became a regular at the smiddy in Dougie’s day, is still a regular feature around the smiddy.