Wells Cathedral Handrails

In 2018 we were fortunate enough to be selected to make new handrails for four of the towers at Wells Cathedral.
The Ironart of Bath van was a regular site at Wells Cathedral during the installation phase.

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 iron handrail.

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.

Being a 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!

Decorative scrollwork handrails

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.

Regency walled garden gates

We blogged about the making and restoration of these three traditional wrought iron kitchen garden gates a few weeks ago. Please follow this link to read all about it.

We now have some pictures of them in situ and they look truly stunning. If you would like to talk to us about wrought iron gate restoration, or have a new commission in mind, please get in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

Wrought iron garden gate at Horton

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.

 

The Anemone Gate in Larkhall

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.

The making of the Anemone gate

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

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.

The Zero Degrees Gate, Bristol

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!

Zero Degrees Ironart gate

A new gate for Freshford School

We have just installed this forged estate-style entrance gate at Freshford Primary School, near Bath. Simple, elegant and very beautiful, we LOVE it. Well done team!

Freshford School gate Freshford School gate 2