Georgian Canopy Projects

One of our canopy projects in Bristol installed and complete

We have been working on some different Georgian canopy projects. The first is an unusual project. We’ve had parts of a Georgian Canopy in store for a few years, they had been languishing in the basement of a local charity The St John’s Trust and Ironart agreed to store it with a view to selling it on behalf of the charity to anyone that might have a use for it. A client in Devizes who is building a new house using all reclaimed materials is now using the columns and balustrading to create a feature balcony, we are adapting these lovely old pieces to fit this new project. The original pieces are in amazing condition with virtually no corrosion or rust, no doubt having been previously well maintained and then being stored at St John’s. There have also been debates in the workshop about how the Georgian ironworkers created such beautifully neat leaded half-lap joints with invisible seams. 

The second project is from Sion Hill, Clifton in Bristol. We are repairing and restoring a large mid-Victorian balcony and canopy from this property. The original ironwork was created between 1845 and 1873. The canopy was in varying states of degradation because of its location with a perfect view overlooking Clifton suspension bridge but in full receipt of the weather from Clifton Gorge for the last 170 years. Now it has been removed and taken back to our workshop, all the paint has been stripped off revealing stamps of Abadaire Ironworks where it was originally fabricated.

It is a beautifully constructed piece, immaculately created and with perfectly fitting joints. The tenons that fit into the stanchion uprights have an incredibly accurate tight fit which impressed the team working on them. Many of the lead flower details and the cross-sections they sit on need replacing necessitating the creation of moulds of the original flowers in order to make perfect copies. Foot details have also needed replacing, this has been done using reclaimed wrought iron forged to match the originals.

And the third canopy project that we have just completed after 2 years in storage is a beautiful Georgian porch structure that we removed and restored in Bristol in 2018. This is the same property that we created an enormous new canopy structure for in the same year.  It is great to see this wonderful project finally complete!

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.

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

In the workshop this week