years ago the main Rood Screen at St
Evangelist in Bath was fully
restored and re-gilded. Since then we have been asked to quote for the restoration
of the side screens and happily we have been commissioned to do the undertake
the work to these beautifully made traditional iron folding gates. We are
excited to have the opportunity to work on such a stunning piece of local
job involves the removal and restoration of these panels that sit either side
of the main alter in St Johns. They were originally made in 1905 and each gate has
slightly different designs and motifs. There is some bomb damage with a
scattering of shrapnel pock marks from when the neighbouring presbytery was badly damaged by a bomb which fell in
The gates are covered in an
old shellac lacquer which will be removed as will any corrosion as part of the
renovation. The one or two missing parts will be hand forged and replaced and it
will be repainted in a matt black paint with gilded highlights to reflect similar
gilding on the renovated rood screen.
We made this balustrade for a
private home near Henley in 2016. We have recently received the final images of
it in situ. The balustrade was designed in collaboration with the project architect
and was inspired by Sir John Soane’s Moggerhanger House. Whilst it looks beautifully simple it was a
deceptively difficult job with fiddly and precise ironwork. It’s great to see
it in its completed setting.
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.
We’re very pleased to be welcoming two new members of staff this summer – Rick and Stacey. A keen horserider, Stacey went into farriery after leaving school but soon branched out into other areas of metalwork including blacksmithing and jewellery, until she discovered a passion for historic pieces and ended up on the metalwork conservation course at West Dean. Stacey spent some time at Ironart a couple of years ago and we were impressed by her work on the Bartlett Street restoration project we had on at the time (read about it here: http://ironart.co.uk/bartlett-street-overthrow-restoration-2/ So as soon as she finished at West Dean we were glad to have her back and are sure she’ll be a great asset to the team.
Although he started off as a chef, Rick quickly made the natural transition (?) to welding and spent many years building boats in Wiltshire. He has a strong background in several areas of metalwork, including a spell in a 2CV restoration workshop so he’s certainly had a good training in the art of dismantling and reassembling intricate component parts. In his spare time, Rick plays the synthesiser he built for himself, enforcing his ‘sonic mayhem’ on his patient family (1 wife 3 daughters).
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 …