When Whitley was still largely an agricultural village, the smithy stood at the east end of Front Street, seen to the right in what is now the middle of Whitley Road. The picture dates between 1895 and 1901.
The caption, “Clergy, Choir and Wardens of Howdon Parish Church (St Paul’s), Sept. 1916”, is chalked on a board held up by the two boys in the front row. The gentleman with white hair is presumably the Rev. John Hughes and the picture may commemorate his retirement at the end of September 1916.