We are delighted to announce the first ever winners of the NHIG Award for Heritage Metalwork Conservation. From a shortlist of six strong projects, joint first place was awarded to Daniel Liggins for his work on the Oakes Park gates in Sheffield, and to the team of David James (blacksmith), Andrew Harris (architect) and Rob Umney (surveyor) for their conservation of the 20th Century Garden gates at Hampton Court Palace. Runner-up place was awarded to Alex Coode for Miserden House gates in Stroud.
When they visited the shortlisted projects, the judging panel were particularly interested in the appropriateness of materials and techniques used; the extent to which the loss of original fabric was minimised; and the quality of the craftsmanship. After much deliberation, they agreed that both Oakes Park and Hampton Court demonstrated in equal measure careful consideration and application of conservation principles and outstanding craftsmanship.
The judges’ comments on Oakes Park gates noted: “The principles of minimum intervention, reversible techniques and like-for-like replacements were all clearly in evidence. Forgework was well executed and sympathetic to the original design.” And of the 20th Century Garden gates at Hampton Court, they commented: “The project clearly involved extensive research which informed the work carried out in a way that ensured the integrity of the whole. We were particularly impressed by the level of craftsmanship evident in the finished gates, which was second-to-none. Some difficult processes and techniques were masterfully executed in a manner faithful to the original design.”
The inaugural NHIG Award is the first of its kind to recognise and celebrate exemplary conservation within the ironwork sector. Newly designed medals will be presented at the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths’ annual awards luncheon this month. Adrian Legge, Chair of the judging panel, said “The quality of work submitted was very encouraging and we look forward to judging next year’s award as there will doubtless be other high calibre projects out there. Conservation skills are vital in safeguarding our built heritage, so NHIG is pleased to play its part in helping to nurture and promote them.”