June 1967 – Sgt Pepper had just been released, Aretha Franklin’s Respect was at number one, protests against the Vietnam War were at their height … and as the first cash machine appeared on the streets of London, over in Bath a metal workshop called Ironart opened its doors for business.
Sam Chantry, the original owner, made some of the classic Bath ironwork that you see around you today, including railings, gates and balconies at the likes of the Royal Crescent, the Theatre Royal and further afield at Bowood House. Our very own Luke worked for Chantry as a teenager and sometimes finds himself revisiting the ironwork he helped to install all those years ago.
And 50 years later in June 2017 here will still are, on the same site in Larkhall, doing what we do best – making beautiful bespoke ironwork that will adorn your homes and gardens for another 50 years – at least…
We bid a fond farewell to Ted and Mary this week as both are off on new adventures. Ted is taking on the dry dock of a boatyard in Bradford on Avon, and Mary will be exploring various artistic ventures via Glastonbury and a seaweed farm in Ireland, finally ending up on an organic farm in Somerset. Luckily there’s a forge on-site …
Here they are with the whole team (minus Alan who is motor-biking around Norway) just before departure.
We had a great time at the Royal Crescent foundation stone celebration on Sunday. Sunshine, sandwiches, plenty of willing helpers to pump the bellows and lots of nice people to talk to … And most importantly the opportunity to show how the finials on the Royal Crescent railings would have been made 250 years ago (except that perhaps the bellows wouldn’t have been quite so leaky). James even had his moment of fame on BBC Points West!
From the initial design brief – based on the concept of ‘bounteousness’ – to final installation, these ‘allium’ gates for a vegetable garden in Doynton have proved a challenge and delight in equal measure. Our client wanted the design to reflect the bounty of nature which immediately prompted the idea of a swelling onion bulb. Once the design had been refined in collaboration with the clients, each aspect was hand-crafted in our workshop, where the onion leaves were forged in the fire in the traditional manner and bent into shape. We were thrilled to receive this message a few days after installation:
“I finally got to see the gates properly yesterday and we are absolutely delighted with them. You and the team have put a huge amount of ingenuity and creativity into producing an amazing feature and talking point for our garden. We wait to see what the muntjac will make of it – they are resourceful little critters!”
As ever, we left site without being able to capture the gates in their full glory when the garden is at its most bounteous, but we look forward to sharing more images in the summer months.
We were recently asked to restore the original gates to Burwalls, an impressive 19th Century listed mansion perched on the edge of the Avon Gorge in Leigh Wood, Bristol. Originally built as a private house in 1872 the property has passed through media and tobacco families before being requisitioned in 1939 by the War Office and then acquired in 1948 by the University of Bristol. The gates, which are likely to have been made by Singers of Frome, were in need of restoration and widening to fit their new setting at the entrance to a development of private luxury apartments within the grounds.
A beautiful pair of 19th century gates brought back to life
The restoration process included straightening crash-damaged sections, the reversal of previous poor repair work, replacement of missing parts, treatment of corrosion, and new extensions to both gate leaves to complement the original gates. We were also asked remove the original acanthus leaves and make new copper Tudor Roses to replace those that were missing, as well as restore and repair the remaining roses. Finally, new lockboxes were made and the gates sandblasted and re-painted prior to fitting.
We were recently approached to design and make a set of gates for a substantial 18th Century property in Oxfordshire. Required for the property’s courtyard, the gates were to be made in the traditional manner with their design reflecting the style of the front gates. Made of mild steel, the gates featured mortice and tenon joints, individually hand forged finials and fire welded rings, as well as traditionally made snub-ended scrolls. To finish, the gates were thermal zinc sprayed and painted. We’ll post photos of these stunning gates in situ soon.
Snub ended scroll work detail
Traditional mortise & tenon joint
Gates laid out in workshop prior to zinc spraying
Simon fire welds the rings – all 48 of them! – see more below …