Maid of the Bridge

MOTB installation

In December 2018 we were pleased to finally see the installation and unveiling of a project that has taken 3 years to reach completion. Maid of the Bridge, a unique piece of public art conceived by Anna Gillespie, Bath based sculptor, and commissioned by developer Crest Nicholson was installed on the newly developed Riverside site in Bath to the great pleasure of the team who had worked on the project and of the local residents.

The sculpture was created from the puddled wrought iron bars from the original chains of the old adjacent Victoria Bridge which had been through a process of conservation and reconstruction in 2015.  The bridge was originally constructed in 1836, designed and built by local entrepreneur, James Dredge who was a brewer in Bath and designed the bridge to carry beer from his brewery across the river without using a ferry or having to detour through the city centre!

Local Council, Bath and North East Somerset and the developers were keen to use the original wrought iron in some way to show their recognition of the historical importance of this Grade II Listed structure and of the history of local industry in the area. Local sculptor Anna Gillespie has used much found metal in her previous works and she seemed a perfect choice to work with this idea.

The resulting piece of public art steeped in the site history was created by a collaborative of local companies from the city, bringing together art, history, heritage skills and engineering.  The  team included art consultant and curator, Peter Dickinson; international engineering company, Buro Happold, Ironart of Bath and Sculptor, Anna Gillespie. We all enormously enjoyed and respected the different skills each member of the team brought to the project and ultimately, our challenge was to find a way to use this old wrought iron to make a safe and durable piece of public art that was true to Anna’s original idea and drawings.

Maid of the Bridge is comprised of 172 sections of old wrought iron bar each carefully marked, drilled and tapped with 1398 spacers and 1116 fasteners, there had to be a trial assembly and then a final assembly once everything was correct. It was finally fitted to a very modern galvanised box section steel plinth, all coated with an HMG coach enamel system.

We were very proud to have worked on such a great project which celebrates heritage skills, respecting historical engineering and the industrial heritage of our city whilst also connecting the past to the future, embracing modern engineering skills and skilled hand-crafted work.

 Maid of the Bridge flows in the same direction as the flow of the river which is a nice touch as it has spent the last 182 years spanning the river and now she flows with it! If you fancy a visit to see her you will find her here.

  

Happy 50th Ironart!

June 1967Sgt 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.

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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…

sunflowerMeadow gate 26T5A2624Bespoke latches by Ironart of Bath

Lansdown bench

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Royal Crescent Birthday Celebrations

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!

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Allium Gates – from concept to completion

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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.

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Overthrow restoration update

We blogged about this project two weeks ago. The team are continuing to restore the Bartlett Street sign overthrow here in the Ironart workshop. These pictures tell the story of the restoration work as it progresses under the expert eye of Martin Smith. For more information about Ironart’s Restoration services follow this link to that area of our website. If you have a project in mind and would like some advice about where to start, please get in touch.

Bartlett Street Overthrow Restoration

These pictures tell the story of an intriguing restoration project we have in the workshop at the moment.We have been commissioned by the Bartlett Street Antiques Centre in Bath to survey,  dismantle and restore this beautiful 6m wide overthrow which has, for many years been hanging high over Bartlett Street, a picturesque pedestrian side street in Georgian Bath’s main shopping district.

We are still not sure exactly how old this lovely wrought iron overthrow is but probably late 19th Century. Martin Smith is overseeing the restoration of the whole piece, carefully cataloguing each section and ensuring the appropriate repairs are made at each stage of the process.  Stacey Hibberd, Cecilie Robinson and Adrian Booth are all assisting Martin in the restoration. It’s such a beautiful piece of original wrought ironwork and our whole team appreciate the level of craftsmanship and care that went into it’s making. We can only wonder how many million people have strolled underneath this overthrow without even noticing it! When restored and back in situ the gantry will incorporate some new, bold lettering to catch the eye – “Bartlett St Quarter” – more pics to follow as work progresses…

Ironart fruit cages in Gardens Illustrated magazine

Ironart are featured in Gardens Illustrated magazine this month. The magazine’s July issue which went on sale last Friday – includes a design sourcebook editorial page on “Fruit cages: made-t0-measure garden solutions to protect your fruit and vegetables”. The editors picked up on a gothic fruit and vegetable cage we made for talented Garden Designer Marion Mako, which graces a beautiful garden near Colerne on the edge of Bath. Here’s a link to that particular gothic bespoke fruit cage on our website. If you grow fruit and vegetables, have a  problem with birds and would like an elegant solution to the problem.. please get in touch.

Fruit cage design by Marion Mako Gardens  www.makogardens.co.uk   01453 872 041 
 
Gardens Illustrated - July 2015

An unusual, contemporary balustrade in Bristol

This 17m run of balustrading in Bristol was designed to meet a specific brief – our clients wanted a  contemporary design but one which incorporated traditional metalworking techniques. The design they went for was a real departure from anything we’ve made before, and looks fantastic.

Jason Balchin, Dom West and the Ironart team tapered the square bar support posts to create a 5mm thick wrap detail. They also hot punched two holes in each stem for the 16mm balustrade rails to pass through. The round-section infill bars were also hot forged into conical tapers which were then wrapped around the horizontal bars at the top and the bottom of the railings.  The 42mm diameter handrail was a lovely solid round section. These pics show Jason at work forging the component parts for this unusual project. This contemporary balustrade was then galvanized to weather proof it before being painted here in our workshop spray booth by Dean.

If you like this style of railing/balustrade and would like to talk to us about commissioning a similar piece of work, please get in touch.

 

 

More dates for our blacksmithing workshops…

Due to popular demand we’ve posted some new dates for Saturday blacksmithing taster days here at Ironart in the late summer and autumn of 2015. (We have completely sold out of spaces through the Spring and early summer). These one-day workshops are aimed at complete beginners, they are always on Saturday mornings 8am – 2pm here in Larkhall on the edge of Bath and cost £95 per person. They are tutored by our experienced blacksmiths Jason Balchin or Martin Smith who will guide you through the basics of forging and give you the chance to make some bits and pieces to take home with you. Our workshops are open to anyone aged 16+ and make a unique and memorable birthday or Christmas present gift.  We’ll give you all the protective equipment you’ll need, a steady flow of tea and coffee and soft drinks, and hot bacon sandwiches (veggie option available!) to keep you going.

Blacksmithing workshop dates are:

Saturday 8th August
Saturday 15th August
Saturday 19th September
Saturday 26th September
Saturday 17th October
Saturday 24th October
Saturday 14th November
Saturday 21st November
Saturday 5th December
Saturday 12th December

Contact us on 01225 311273 to book in. We limit each workshop to just four people and they do tend to sell out quickly. To receive alerts about future workshop dates as we publish them, please subscribe to our monthly email newsletter.

Ironart Forging workshops - Bath  Blacksmithing course - pieces Blacksmithing course - flower hook

Ironart Forging workshops – Bath

Pretty garden balustrade panels

We are lucky enough to visit some very special houses and gardens through our work. These pretty panels were designed as edge protection for a garden on Greenway Lane in Bath. Many of the houses on Greenway Lane have steep gardens and this one enjoys some spectacular views over beautiful Lyncombe Vale. The homeowner wanted something more than a simple balustrade. Andy’s design incorporates some lead cast detailing, inspired by our client’s visit to the Ironart workshop last year where the team were casting lead details on another project.