The World Heritage Site Enhancement Fund Working Group commissioned Ironart to repair and restore two historic Waymarkers in Bath.
The Ironart team carefully removed the waymarkers from site. One of them was on Widcombe Hill, Bath – the other on the Southstoke crossroads on Combe Down. The larger one on Widcombe Hill had at some point been set into a 2ft pad of concrete, and both had been smashed into by vehicles, so they were in a bad state of disrepair and difficult to remove. The Widcombe Hill waymarker was in six pieces, it had been bolted together by someone during a previous repair. They had used mild steel straps which had acted as a water trap – only serving to speed up the decay. We carefully cleaned the waymarkers up by blasting off the surface paint particles and rust, and reassembled them here in the Ironart workshop. The Southstoke waymarker had a new section welded into the top.
Someone had also attempted to braze (bronze solder) them when carrying out repairs, so Martin had to grind all the brazed sections and fill them back up with cast welds. Martin had to redefine the lettering where the surface of the waymarker had been damaged. He ran over the surface with cast welding rods, and then carefully etched out each letter again using a die grinder and a dremel (a tiny grinder). He created a galvanized mild steel subframe to offer support from the inside to the Widcombe Hill sign. This subframe will be bolted to the back of the waymarker using the original bolt holes when we reinstate it. Martin will use isolation washers between the two structures to ensure the air will be able to circulate behind the original cast iron waymarker and no water will be trapped between the plates.
Dean used Rustcon rust inhibitor (which turns the cast iron black) to stabilize the corrosion on the surface of the waymarkers. Both waymarkers were then coated with a four-coat two pack paint system from W&J Leigh Ltd.