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.

  

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

Saturday morning Blacksmithing workshop

Last weekend Martin led a group of four friends from Bradford on Avon through a blacksmithing workshop session.
The dynamic quartet raced through the basics of forging and quickly progressed to making some really interesting and unique pieces, including a candlestick, boot rack, hanging basket bracket and WW1 commemorative ceramic poppy holder. Martin found it a really rewarding session and was flat out keeping each project progressing throughout the morning. And the feedback from the group… ‘We thoroughly enjoyed it!”  Here are some pics of the fruits of their labours.

One-day blacksmithing courses

Following the success of our workshops this summer, the Ironart team will be running more one-day ‘Introduction to Blacksmithing’ courses through the Autumn/Winter. These take place in our Larkhall forge on the outskirts of beautiful Georgian Bath. These one-day courses are aimed at the complete beginner and will be tutored by experienced artist blacksmiths Jason Balchin and Martin Smith.  They are open to anyone aged 16+ and make a unique and memorable birthday or Christmas present gift. Choose from a selection of items to make and take home. We’ll supply you with all safety equipment, tools and materials, hot bacon sandwiches and a steady flow of tea and coffee to keep you going. Please share this on Facebook and Twitter or forward this email to anyone you know who might be interested….

Blacksmithing workshops at Ironart of Bat

Blacksmithing workshops at Ironart of Bath

Jason Balchin of Ironart of Bath. Photo credit Clare Green, Western Daily Press

Jason Balchin of Ironart of Bath. Photo credit Clare Green, Western Daily Press

 

The following one-day workshops run from 8am – 2pm and cost £95.00 per person.

Saturday 22nd November 2014

Saturday 6th December 2014

Saturday 17th January 2015

Saturday 31st January 2015

Email ironart@ironart.co.uk or call us on 01225 311 273 to book your place. Please note that these are on a first-come, first served basis and payment is required in full to secure your place. (p.s. We can make suggestions for accommodation locally if needed.)

Please note that space is limited so book early to avoid disappointment! Feedback from previous one-day forging workshops …. “The things to make were interesting, and the different techniques fun to learn. The level and pace of the training was excellent, and it was great that we could each proceed at our own speed.” “I had a fantastic time, and achieved so much more than I expected to. I really want to do another course with you guys: that heart shaped hook is next on my list!” “Just to say I really enjoyed it. Our teacher was really patient and hit the right level of help/letting us get on with it. The day made me appreciate the skill involved. Would recommend the course.” “Well organised, good fun and good bacon butties!” “Andy and I thoroughly enjoyed the day at Ironart. Martin provided great instruction and within no time at all we had made several test pieces with scrolls and twists.”

 

* Terms and Conditions of booking:

  • Amendments to bookings may be made up to 14 days prior to the date of the class. If you find you are unable to attend a class less than 14 days before the date of your workshop we regret that the course fees will only be refunded if we are able to fill your place. These rules apply equally to gift voucher bookings.
  • If through unavoidable circumstances Ironart Ltd has to cancel a workshop, all course fees will be refunded in full or if you wish, transferred to another course. We regret that we cannot refund any other costs you may have incurred in advance, such as travel and accommodation.
  • Ironart Ltd cannot accept liability for any loss, injury or damage to course participants or their property. Copies of Ironart Ltd Public Liability Insurance certificate are available on request.
  • Whilst the dates & prices for the courses are correct at the time of going to press, Ironart Ltd reserves the right to make alterations to dates, times, course content & prices.

Come and have a go! Blacksmithing workshops at Ironart of Bath

Have you ever wanted to have a go at making something in a forge? Well…. now is your chance!

Cecilie forging

The Ironart team are running one-day ‘Introduction to Blacksmithing’ courses here in our Larkhall workshop on the outskirts of beautiful Georgian Bath. These one-day courses are aimed at the complete beginner and will be tutored by two of Ironart’s experienced artist blacksmiths Jason Balchin and Martin Smith. Choose from a selection of items to make and take home. We’ll supply you with all safety equipment, tools and materials, a steady flow of tea and coffee, and hot bacon sandwiches to keep you going!

The following one-day courses run from 8am – 2pm and cost £80 per person. Please note that space is limited so book early to avoid disappointment!

Saturday 12th July – fully booked
Saturday 19th July – fully booked
Saturday 26th July

Email ironart@ironart.co.uk or call us on 01225 311 273 to book your place.  (p.s. We can make suggestions for accommodation locally if needed.)