Iron beating
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Belper's world-famous metal beating industry

BBC Radio Nottingham presenter John Holmes has taken a close look at a 700-year-old cottage industry, which made a Derbyshire town famous across the world.

Due to its abundance of iron stone near the surface of the ground, Belper became famous for its nails.

Local historian Mary Smedley said Belper's horseshoe nails were its most famous product and were even used by cowboys in the Wild West.

Each nailer was expected to make 1,000 nails a day - 43,000 blows of a hammer, Ms Smedley explained.

"And it was not uncommon for their right hand to be twice as big again as the left one through sheer hard work," she added.

  • 30 Jan 2013
  • From the section Derby