The National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG) is a volunteer-run organisation which is:

  • Dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of ironwork
  • The nation’s only organisation focused solely on historic ironwork
  • A hub for historic ironwork information

The NHIG was established in 2009 by a group of experienced professionals from a broad range of related fields who recognised the need for:

  • A focal point for discussion and dissemination of information
  • A source of expertise and consultation
  • Training routes for professionals

 Why is ironwork at risk?

Heritage ironwork is currently at risk because it is:

  • Overlooked and undervalued
  • Poorly represented in terms of education and standards
  • Not recognised as a skilled and specialist area of conservation

The absence of standards or regulations means it is commonplace for unqualified people to undertake renovation works, leading to irrevocable damage – or in severe cases even destruction – of artefacts through ignorance.

How has this happened?

A century ago, blacksmith-made architectural wrought ironwork was a fundamental part of our built environment. From flamboyant displays adorning stately homes to the commonplace simplicity of parkland railings, our ironwork heritage represents exceptional mastery of design and superb craftsmanship. Yet since the World Wars there has been a steady decline in the size and condition of the nation’s ironwork mainly affected by:

  • Lack of maintenance to address natural corrosion
  • Changing fashions and financial preference for cheaper alternatives
  • Traditional craftsmanship being replaced by modern fabrication methods

The NHIG believes this decline can be stabilised and a sustainable future created for our ironwork heritage.

How the NHIG helps

  • Education: developing and sustaining individual and collective knowledge
  • Research: instigating, conducting and publishing research about heritage ironwork
  • Professional Standards: defining and promoting high standards in the care of heritage ironwork
  • Resources:a focal point for information
  • Advocacy: championing heritage ironwork within the conservation community and outside it, in public and private sectors, nationally and internationally.