St Johns Gates Renovation & Installation

Renovation complete of the beautiful hand-forged side gates at St John the Evangelist in Bath with gold touches.

Two years ago, the main Rood Screen at St John the Evangelist in Bath was fully conserved and re-gilded.  Since then we have been commissioned to undertake the conservation of the beautifully made traditional iron folding gates on either side of the Rood Screen. We have really enjoyed having the opportunity to work on such a stunning piece of local heritage ironwork. The gates were originally made in 1905 and each gate has slightly different designs and motifs. The gates were covered in an old shellac lacquer which has been removed along with minor corrosion and the one or two missing parts were hand-forged and replaced and then repainted in a matt black paint with gilded highlights to reflect similar gilding on the rood screen.

There is a scattering of shrapnel pockmarks from when the neighbouring presbytery was badly damaged by a bomb in the Baedeker raids of 1942.  Because of the bomb damage, one of the gates had lowered which meant we had to extend the hinge journal and heel pivot, allowing the renovated lockboxes and latch to line up nicely and work as they no doubt originally did.  Whilst odd missing parts were replaced, the shrapnel damage was left alone, a historical marker left for future generations to find. 

It was great to discover more about the history of the building and the ironwork through this renovation project. Click to see this film of St John’s the Evangelist Church after being bombed in some rare documentary footage from the BFI library archive that was found by Martin Smith one of the blacksmithing team who worked on the conservation of the gates. Martin was curious to find out more about the bombing that impacted the heritage ironwork they were working to conserve.

Page Park Gate Renovation

In 2014 we were approached by Gloucestershire County Council to give advice on the existing historic entrance gates to Page Park.  Fast forward 3 years with much to-ing and fro-ing between the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund and we were fortunate enough to be successful in tendering  for the restoration of the gates, which were originally made in 1904 by Gardiners of Bristol. The gates have served to keep the park secure for over 100 years, however they were in much need of refurbishment especially the lower panels that had in effect been dissolved by dog wee!  Repairs in the past had not been sympathetic to the original metal work, especially the sheeted areas and locking system.

The gates have been repaired with wrought iron, thermal zinc sprayed and finished with a coach enamel system. Overall it has been a huge pleasure to restore these splendid gates to their former original glory.

The project is expected to hoover up nearly 1500 hours of our time, many thanks to Gloucestershire Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund for making this project happen. We are hoping that all the gates will be installed by the end of February 2019. The 1000m of railings also being made for the park’s perimeter are currently being manufactured elsewhere,  not a job for Ironart of Bath, we were unable to take on the sheer volume! P

Cavendish Crescent canopy restoration

In December and January the Ironart team oversaw the restoration of three zinc canopies decorating Georgian town houses on Cavendish Crescent, Bath. Two of the canopies were very old, with original wrought iron frames of rivetted construction, both covered with solid zinc sheeting. One was clearly a replica, and a recent addition, made from welded aluminium tube frame, also with a solid zinc sheet hood.

The two canopies that were wrought iron were carefully removed from site, and stripped back to the raw metal. They were then re-coated before being sent to another company (selected by the client) for new zinc sheeting to be applied. The Ironart team made alterations to the third canopy (the modern replica) so that it was more in keeping with the rest. The limestone surrounds into which the door canopies were set had decayed, and frustratingly some of the stonework crumbled when they were removed. The masonry was carefully ‘made good’ by a local stonemason once the door canopies were refitted on site.

Ironart’s restoration specialist Martin Smith is of the view that these canopies were probably later additions to the sweep of Georgian houses on Cavendish Crescent. “When you look closely at them there are many subtle variations in design, indicating that they were made by different manufacturers over the years.”

If you are lucky enough to have an historic architectural feature like this on your house and it’s in need of some care or repair, please get in touch because we’d love to help.