A FORMER Victorian school in Silsden is set to be transformed into a medieval castle experience.

Tom and Sam Ive have carved out their own niche business creating historical, movie and television collectibles.

Raven Forge, currently based in a warehouse in Cross Hills, was launched in 2019 by the entrepreneurial siblings aged 35 and 38 - who previously ran their own historical sword fighting club in Keighley - after they spotted a gap in the market for medieval and TV replicas.

They decided to swap their day jobs as a physiotherapy assistant and a plumber to make Raven Forge a reality.

The company specialises in crafting and creating historical, movie and television collectibles – ranging from their famous limited edition pizza axes and drinking horns right through to replica merchandise from the Lord of the Rings.

Over the last two years, Raven Forge and the demand for its products has boomed and it has now become time for the brothers to expand their business.

Now the company aims to convert a former Victorian school into its new bricks and mortar store as well as creating an historic mead hall, axe throwing range and even offering blacksmithing experiences at its forge.

The brothers are hoping to protect and give a whole new lease of life to the former Aire View School site to create it into a thriving hub with the development of a high-tech recording studio, a children’s play area and a community green.

They have launched an Kickstarter fund with support from a 10,000 strong online community to help make the ambition a reality.

Tom said: “Over the last three years we have worked hard to build up a fantastic online community. It has been phenomenal to see the demand for what we do grow beyond our wildest expectations.

“We want somewhere to call our new home that’s open to the public. For us this site is very special, it means so much to us on a personal level - our children went to school there as well as our sister Rosie who now works with us at the family business.

“Our family lives in Silsden and we have seen the town transformed by housing developments over the last 30 years. We want to see this fantastic school building become the beating heart of the community once more.”

The brothers are offering the full asking price of £1.5m for the former school site but they are looking to the community to throw their support behind the bid too.

The Kickstarter fund aims to raise £150,000. Supporters will be offered rewards ranging from limited edition pizza axes, merchandise to the opportunity to leave a lasting mark on the site.

Tom added: “We were always going to need a new home with the rate at which the business is growing and this former Victorian school in the town we are lucky enough to call our home is the perfect location for everything want to do. It will future proof us for years to come.

“But we can’t do this on our own, not without the support from our community. This is a chance for all those who have supported us over the years to be part of forging ahead for our joint future.

“And in return they will be able to leave their own lasting marks on the project we’ve dubbed Castle Raven Forge.

“Bringing the thriving Raven Forge community to the heart of Silsden can only help to give the town’s high street a boost by encouraging more visitors and revenue back into the local economy.

“We started before lockdown and have been lucky enough to be one of the companies that have thrived in this time. This is thanks to our community and we intend to keep growing and supporting them where we can.

“They have been the driving force behind us and now we want to take the next step and have our very own public headquarters that offers a true Raven Forge experience.”

The Kickstarter fund link can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ravenforge/castle-raven-forge