Walcot Steps Conservation Project

We are fortunate enough to have been commissioned to undertake another job for the World Heritage Site Enhancement Fund (WHSEF) which is a partnership between Bath and North East Somerset Council and the Bath Preservation Trust. The WHSEF aim is to initiate and organise minor enhancements to Bath’s heritage that might otherwise fall through the gaps!
 
This most recent job involved the repair and refurbishment of two sets of railings and 3 cast iron bollards that had deteriorated over the centuries at the top of the tall flight of steps joining Walcot Street to the Paragon.  As with much of this type of work this is a collaborative project and it is great to be working with our friend Andrew Ziminski and his crew from Minerva Stone Conservation. The majority of the work was undertaken on site as you can see by the images. Having been exposed to the vagaries of the weather, endless pedestrian traffic and centuries of dog messages, the work involved stabilising loose and wasted material as well as a complete overhaul of the paintwork. Wasted material was replaced with genuine wrought iron, in the spirit of using like for like material, which was fire welded onto the end of the bars. Our dog friends had significantly changed the shape of the bottom of the cast-iron posts but thankfully with such thick-walled castings, there was still plenty of sound material under the rust crust.
 
As with a lot of the railing repairs we undertake in Bath the paint layers reveal the many different colours the railings have been painted. Rarely do we find black layers except for the last layer on the top.

Another WHSEF project that you may have noticed if you are around the city of Bath is a programme of conservation of the carved street names on the Georgian buildings around the city. This street sign restoration project has just been awarded the Georgian Group Architectural Award for Streetscape Initiatives. Well done! What a lovely project! Visit their website to find out more.

Claverton Pumping Station range restoration

The restoration team here at Ironart have just reinstated a lovely cast iron range inside the Claverton Pumping Station for the Canal & River Trust. The range is a ‘Galdac Gem’ and was classed as a ‘portable’ freestanding stove, even though it takes a great deal of manpower to shift it! Ironart’s Martin Smith – who heads up our restoration team here – estimates that the range was made in the 1830’s as it pre-dates the registration mark system of of 1842.

Claverton Pumping Station was built in 1813 and is a fascinating example of local engineering history and well worth a visit if you are ever in the Bath area. The pump was in working order until two years ago and is currently undergoing a major restoration of it’s own. The Trust aim to have it up and running again by the end of 2015. The pump uses the power of the River Avon to lift water up 48ft into the Kennet and Avon Canal above. As their website states: “Burning no fuel and making no waste it is the ultimate in environmentally friendly technology”.  WATCH a Youtube video of the Pumping Station here.

The Trust believe that this cast iron range was located over the road in a cottage which was built at a slightly later date to accommodate the pumping station operators. We think that the range predates the cottage, and we’re assuming that it originally came from the pumping station workshop or kitchen. The Ironart team had to disassemble over 80 individual parts to repair. The Canal and River Trust acquired it and then obtained a grant to fully restore it.  Martin Smith, Paul Ashmore and NADFAS Restoration Bursary Intern Cecilie Robinson all worked on this restoration project which took the best part of two weeks to complete. The only part of the range that was missing was the ashpan which the team made new, faithfully following the design of a similar range we had seen. The Canal and River Trust now hope to have the range in full working order. Once the the flue, registration plate and bespoke firebricks are installed and connected they fully intend to use it!

 

Cast iron bench restoration

We’ve just restored this beautiful bench for a private customer in Tenterden, Kent. This bench had been in their family for some time and was much loved and in need of repair. Martin Smith and Cecilie Robinson (Nadfas intern) made a full assessment of the repairs needed once the bench had been stripped of it’s paint. Incidentally this bench was the focus of a blog article I wrote a few weeks ago, because we found what we believe were the remnants of the original Coalbrookdale green colour right next to the cast metal. The bench was finished in Mid-Brunswick Green paint and looks very handsome back in situ.

Restoration of a three seat Fern Coalbrookedale bench

Martin has just finished restoring this beautiful cast iron three seat Coalbrookedale bench.  Coincidentally we have had a two seat fern Coalbrookedale in for restoration at the same time (pics of that one to follow shortly)

If you are lucky enough to have (or think you have!) an antique cast iron bench sitting in your garden in a state of disrepair, they can be very valuable and it is worth looking at getting it restored. If you would like to talk to us about restoring cast iron benches please pick up the phone. In the first instance it’s useful to have some photographs to send through on an email too so we can make an initial appraisal, please visit the Contact Us page on our website for more info.

 

Three Seat Fern Coalbrookedale bench - before

 

Three seat Fern Coalbrookedale bench - After