Inside the world of the fendersmith

In these days of central heating and gas fires, having an open fire is more of a luxury as a living room focal point rather than a necessity to heat a room. If you have an open fire you will probably know the tasks required every time you want to light it, keeping an eye on it whilst it is alight … and then the clearing of ash, and sweeping up after it goes out. You may also have a basket for logs or coal, and tools for poking, rolling, placing logs to enable them to burn more efficiently.

You may have a fender for the fire to sit in, and a guard to stop the fire spitting out into living spaces, a small shovel to remove ash. And on top of all that the chimney needs regular sweeping.

But in the world of the royal family things are on a much larger scale. One of the royal palaces, Windsor Castle has 300 fireplaces and has its own dedicated person to maintain the fenders, as well as to light the fires and clear and maintain them. Known as a fendersmith, he even has his own signature tune, played by bagpipe: “Salute to Willie the Royal Fendersmith”, and members of the same family have been royal fendersmiths for many generations.

The job of a fendersmith would appear to be unique in the UK … there aren’t many people who have that many fireplaces in one dwelling, but we are sure the royal fendersmith has his work cut out at Windsor Castle. For all your fire safety needs including fire risk assessments, installation and maintenance of fire alarms, smoke alarms, extinguishers, fire blankets and fire safety training for your staff contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

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