In the years between the two world wars all of the horses which could be seen pulling carts around Boreham Wood had their shoes crafted and fitted by one blacksmith.

Frank Payne took over the village blacksmith's forge, in Theobald Street, before fighting broke out in 1914, and continued running the business up until 1939. During the First World War he worked up to 18 hours-a-day making horse shoes for the army, with help from German prisoners of war who were detained in a nearby camp.

Mr Payne, who also repaired carts for farms or businesses and painted trade signs, went on to open his own garage and hire out a fleet of chauffeur-driven cars.

His son, Bob, who lives in Hartforde Road, said: "He used to come home and find that he could not move his arms he worked himself into the ground."

Frank Payne was born in 1883 and worked as an apprentice blacksmith in Wheathampstead before joining Albert Sands, Elstree's blacksmith, around 1906.

In 1911, at the age of 28, he married Daisy Jane Hester, a governess and music teacher at Elstree School, whose family owned a sweet shop at the top of Elstree Hill South.

Mr Payne, who joined Elstree Fire Brigade as a volunteer, took over Boreham Wood's blacksmith's business from Mr Hawkins when he had saved enough money.

The blacksmith's house, behind a furniture shop in Theobald Street, was a timber-framed building which dated back to the 17th Century.

Bob, who had three brothers, was born in 1922 when the family were living in a cottage in Elstree Hill North, near to the Artichoke pub.

He said that, in the winter, his father would get up at 4am to fix ice nails in horses' shoes, return home for breakfast and then worked at the smithy until 6pm.

In 1924 Mr Payne bought the old school building site in Theobald Street, moved his business there, and began building a family house at weekends.

The house took more than three years to finish. Mr Payne then built a row of small workshops and opened up a garage and car hire business with a fleet of six cars.

He served on Elstree Parish Council for eight years during the 1930s, although grief struck his family in 1938 when his wife died at the age of 52.

Mr Payne closed his business soon after and worked for a further three years at Opperman's engineering company at Stirling Corner. He died, aged 89, in 1972.