Over the last 3 and a half years, Ironart of Bath has been involved in a project called BathIRON. BathIRON was the brainchild of Andy Thearle, owner of Ironart of Bath and secretary and trustee of the National Heritage Ironwork Group. The NHIG’s aim is to raise awareness of heritage ironwork, the skills involved in creating it and also that enable its protection and conservation. The focal point of the BathIRON project was to create a brand new bespoke, musical themed balustrade for the bandstand in Parade Gardens, Bath, as a means to raise awareness of heritage ironwork to a multitude of audiences.
Last June alongside The British Artist Blacksmith Association, Hereford College of Arts and lots of artist blacksmiths, Ironart of Bath participated in the BathIRON festival of ironwork in Parade Gardens in the centre of the City of Bath. Over the 4 days of the event, all the bespoke panels were forged live by master blacksmiths and their teams. Following on from that, after a winter of hard work and thousands of hours of forging, galvanising, finishing and painting, this April saw the final installation of the balustrade and it looks amazing! It is now in situ and you can go down anytime to Parade Gardens in Bath and have a look.
This May Ironart joined the final celebrations to mark the project’s completion, at an event called FireFOLK in Parade Gardens, Bath. FireFOLK was an evening of live folk music, forging demonstrations, a silent auction of traditionally, hand-forged pieces, a bar and local food stalls. It was a family-friendly event as part of the Bath Festival and welcomed people of all ages and backgrounds. It was great to be mixing with artist and master blacksmiths, families who had sponsored notes on the balustrade, folk music enthusiasts, regulars to the park and visitors to the city. We were very lucky with a balmy, sunny evening and much fun was had by all, the mayor came to cut the ribbon and accept this amazing, bespoke gift on behalf of the city of Bath and the evening ended in suitable style with lots of happy folk dancing around the beautiful, newly adorned bandstand. Read more about the project here.
It has been amazing to be part of this project, that leaves a legacy that will be seen and enjoyed for hundreds of years by many thousands of people visiting and living in the city of Bath. The opportunity to be involved in something that allows people to understand the incredible creative possibilities of working with metal was very exciting and a privilege. This kind of bespoke work is something that Ironart of Bath specialises in. Do get in touch if you would like us to come and talk about a creative idea you have for some bespoke ironwork creation!
In 2018 we
were fortunate enough to be selected to make new handrails for four of the
towers at Wells Cathedral. The Bell Ringers Tower and the North, Central and
South Towers. We had to create nearly 200 metres of 25mm and 30mm diameter pure
It was very
exciting to be working on such a historic building that has stood in that place
and seen a lot of things in its 850 years. In all that time no one had considered
that they needed handrails and to be the
ones to put them in was a huge privilege.
Scheduled Monument and a building of such historic and national importance, things
had to be done to a rigorously high standard. With the architect having selected
pure iron as the material of choice, matters were then slightly complicated by
the fact that the structural engineer was unable to sign off a traditional
approach to construction due to the lack of technical data on the material.
After destructive testing of various types of connection details for the handrail brackets,
it was deemed that a traditional approach to construction, using riveted
tenons, rather than modern electric welding could be used. This was a relief to
all involved. It was a real challenge to then fit all the opposing fittings precisely
into the stonework and handrail, so we came up with some ingenious jigs that
meant we could do the job with certainty.
You can see
here images of Jason working on handrails which were premade in the workshop on
bespoke formers, no mean feat in itself! Once at Wells the need for methodical
working and the complexity of fitting corkscrew pieces of handrail to ancient
stonework with all its variations was quite exacting, it was deceptive, that
such a simple looking structure was so hugely technically challenging but with
the team’s combined skills and knowledge we are very happy with the final
result which will be in the cathedral for many more hundreds of years!
Whilst the fitting team of Rik, Stacey, Martin
and Alan loved the atmosphere of the place and to be working on a job like that,
they were all glad to be back working on a flat floor. Rik and Alan became a
lot closer having worked in the confined spaces of the central tower!
This lovely gate was commissioned by keen gardeners in Holt who brought in a drawing of some bull-rushes. Andy developed the theme to arrive at this delightful gate which Jack really enjoyed making, and which we hope will give great pleasure to its owners for many years to come.
Ironart’s Jason Balchin, Alan Patterson and Adrian Booth made these symmetrical handrails as part of a much bigger project incorporating double gates and railings for a lovely period house in Weston on the edge of Bath. The team reclaimed the original top strap from pre-existing handrails on the steps. These handrails incorporate decorative cast iron newel posts and were individually leaded in on site by Luke Hannaford. For more examples of bespoke gates and railings please visit the bespoke portfolio on our website.
We’ve been cataloguing images and came across some pics of a lovely single garden gate we made for a client in Horton north of Bath last year. This gate design was worked up from a sketch supplied by our client and frames the entrance to a beautiful mature garden. It features flowing scrollwork, spear finial and collaring and was made here in our workshops by Ironart’s Jason Balchin. If you are looking for a garden gate and need some inspiration, take a look at our portfolio of work and contact us on 01225 311273 to discuss, we’d love to help.
This morning we celebrated the unveiling of the lovely Anemone gate with a round of coffee and croissants! This quirky and unique gate was commissioned by a creative local couple who wanted a striking piece for their period property located just around the corner from our workshops here in Larkhall, Bath.
Andy’s lovely anemone flower design was realised on the forge by Simon Bushell, Cecilie Robinson and Jason Balchin in the Ironart workshops, galvanized and then handpainted by Cecilie. The gate has already caused a flurry of interest and positive comments from passers by. The garden is also an eye-catching design, even in it’s dormant winter state it’s easy to tell that a great deal of thought has gone into the layout and planting. The garden design is the handiwork of Louise Bastow who runs Alchemy Garden Design in Bath and Bristol. Louise’s work is lovely, here is a link to her website.
If you are looking for a unique garden gate or structure for your home and garden please get in touch with us here at Ironart – we really enjoy this type of commission! Our thanks to the Davies for their hospitality and enthusiasm, and for the opportunity to make this gate, we love it.
We have nearly finished this really lovely and unique garden gate. The ‘Anemone gate’ was one of those exciting commissions which fires everyone’s enthusiasm for our work. Working to Andy’s unique design, with plenty of input from our clients, a team of blacksmiths set to work on the forge. Jason, Simon and Cecilie were all involved in it’s making.
The Anenome Gate by Ironart of Bath
This sequence of pictures show the team at work forging what is largely a traditionally-made gate. For those who have a technical level of interest, you might like to know…
The gate frame was made with forged tenons
The gate styles were upset and formed (4 inches of material disappeared during this process!)
The flowers were forged from 3mm sheet steel, they were constructed with ball and thread, drilled and tapped into the stem.
The long tapers were drawn out to form stems which were then upset at the bottom to give a natural flared look.
The neat collars were put on hot
The lettering for the property will be laser cut in stainless steel and fixed to the plate at the bottom of the gate.
The finish? Well… it will be galvanised and then hand painted!
We’ll blog some more pictures of this project as the gate nears completion.
Ironart’s Martin Smith worked closely with our clients Woodhouse & Law in Bath to design, make and install this amazing ‘found objects’ gate at Zero Degrees in Bristol. This was a really exciting and interesting project which we executed within a very tight deadline.
Martin and our team pulled out all the stops to make this happen, sourcing all component parts from scrap yards, salvage yards and contacts we knew would be hoarding bits and pieces we could use! The gate features Clifton Suspension Bridge, plenty of references to the Bristol Docks, engineering, Brunel, industry and hot air ballooning. We are absolutely chuffed to bits with the results – it look terrific. This completely unique and quirky gate is at the entrance to Zero Degrees micro-brewery and restaurant right in the centre of Bristol at 53 Colston Street Bristol BS1 5BA. We’re sure it will stop people in their tracks for many years to come!