Dear Editor,

Your article in last week's Packet about Nigel Wills was so heartwarming for me to read. It's so good to read a story for us as a family to see someone like Nigel wanting to take up the art of blacksmithing again for a new chapter in his working life.

We as a family locally ran a master blacksmith business for almost 200 years (Davey & Jordan of Penryn), unfortunately family members with current overheads of today could not make the business viable! Blacksmithing as a passion is not always profitable.

For local people who knew the business the history was as follows: It started in a small forge in Falmouth where Moss Bros is today. They then moved to our new forge in 1908 at the bottom of Hill Head, Penryn, to Commercial Road in 1956 and then Kernick Industrial Estate in 1978.

The company were master blacksmiths often known more by clients in London than for those locally. My father (Mr Harry Jordan) was awarded the Freedom of the City of London, and myself and brother Roger also won the National Championship Cup for blacksmithing at Stoneleigh County Show for many years in the '80s.

What changed the course of the business was an international design competition, working for an international client who lived in the Middle East.

The project turned out to be the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai; the client was of course His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai.

Falmouth Packet:

Mike Jordan with a Cornish-designed staircase at the Burj Al Arab hotel

The only problem on the horizon was although the client loved our work, a small blacksmith company in Penryn was not going to be able to turn out 202 feature stairways for the duplex apartments in the 22-month build time for this iconic hotel.

The only way to resolve this problem was to relocate the manufacturing to Dubai. Each stairway was going to take 2,400 man hours to complete.

His Highness helped out to get our Cornish talent to do the work. All design and prototype samples were done at our forge in Penryn. A company called Metallic LLP was set up by him in Dubai and 240 men were put together to undertake such a massive commission, copying what had been made in Penryn.

Two-thirds of the way through the contact I was summoned to the palace and asked to design a 'gold' stairway for his penthouse.

This put our little Cornish business on the world stage of which we have never looked back. My brother Roger maintained our forge and business here in Penryn for several more years before going into retirement as the younger members of the family did not want to go into the blacksmith business.

Now you can see why we love the fact that someone locally is wanting to start up a blacksmith business again. We will support him with help and advise if ever needed.

Mike Jordan

Chairman, Cornish Stairways International

Read more: Mawnan blacksmith fires up the forge for the first time