Did you know…

The following are links to useful resources for anyone involved with heritage ironwork.


Ultrasonic Testers


Did you know that ultrasonic testers can be used to check the thickness of enclosed rusty wrought iron box-sections?

The technique has been used to check plate thicknesses remaining on Brunel’s Swivel Bridge, built in 1849 in Bristol City Docks.  It carried road traffic over the entrance lock of the Floating Harbour, but could rotate to allow ship to pass.  It is now derelict, but a restoration project is under way, led by NHIG Council member Geoff Wallis and a team of volunteers.

Repeatable results were obtained using an ultrasonic 2 Mhz array with water-based gel coupling agent. The instrument needed to be calibrated on wrought iron, as the pre-programmed settings for steel and cast iron gave incorrect readings.  For further information see www.brunelsotherbridge.org.uk or contact Geoff on gwconservation@gmail.com

V & A’s Ironwork Catalogue


Did you know  about the V & A’s ironwork catalogue with over 130 pages of information and images about the 1000+ items of ironwork in their collection?

V & A’s collection of Conservation Journals


Did you know about the V & A’s collection of Conservation Journals?

These contain articles on a huge variety of conservation areas, with the following of particular interest to NHIG supporters

St John the Baptist, Chester


Did you know about St John the Baptist, Chester?

An under celebrated yet truly remarkable 17th Century screen and gates survives in the Warburton chapel in the old cathedral of St John the Baptist. This ironwork provides as a very rare example from a time before the influence from France lead to the flowering of the ‘golden age’ of British smithwork at the beginning of the 18th Century. Not only has the ironwork survived, but it is in such a state as to be in as new condition.

A visit was made as part of the NHIG CPD course in May 2014. With little known about this ironwork, delegates pondered upon its past, the massiveness of the components of the screen, the evident difficulty with which they were made, not to mention the design, so wild to our twentieth century eyes.

J Starkie Gardner – Reprinted


Did you know about the reprint of J Starkie Gardner’s book ‘English Ironwork of the 17th & 18th Centuries’?  First published in 1911, this book is an accumulation of years of practical work and research by the author, focusing on what is often regarded as the ‘golden age’ of decorative English ironwork. It not only provides the most comprehensive and outstanding record of this art and craft, but it also discusses stylistic trends and attitudes towards decorative ironwork.

Conservation Directory 2014: Metals


Did you know about the collection of articles on Metals (including cast iron, wrought iron, lead etc) available on Building Conservation website? It has a wide ranging and informative collection of articles relating to the conservation of metal;  these  are part of a wider multi-disciplinary collection covering all aspects of building conservation.  Also, you may be interested in the following articles recently published the Conservation Directory for 2014:-
•    Heritage Protection (up-to-date legislation summary for each of the four home nations)
•    Finding Skilled Craftspeople (heritage skills, CSCS cards, registers and accreditation)
•    The South Oculus, Canterbury Cathedral  (NHIG Council Member, Brian Hall’s metalwork case study: interestingly, a hydrocarbon suspension of wax and phosphoric acid rust inhibitors was used to protect the 12th C ferramenta, not paint.)

Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts


Did you know about AATA?  Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) online is a comprehensive database of over 121,000 abstracts of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage.  AATA now includes selected subject-specific bibliographies produced as part of the Getty Conservation Institute’s own conservation and scientific research projects or as part of specific collaborative projects in which the Institute is involved.

Historic Scotland’s Knowledge Base


Did you know about Historic Scotland’s Technical Conservation website which brings together all their technical resources in one searchable place?

Panel for Historical Engineering Works


Did you know about the Panel for Historical Engineering Works (PHEW)  which was established to promote an understanding amongst civil engineers, and the broader public, of our rich engineering heritage?

Scottish Conservation Centre


Did you know about  plans for a National Conservation Centre?

Historic Scotland are developing plans for a National Conservation Centre which will open in Stirling in 2016.

The Vision: To create a unique national and international hub in technical conservation for research and learning to ensure a sustainable future for the historic environment

The NCC will bring together the disciplines of Technical Education, Training and Outreach, Digital Documentation and Conservation Science. More importantly it will become an interactive platform for exploring all the issues surrounding the use of traditional skills, craft and materials raising their profile and finding new ways to communicate their importance to the public.