Ashleigh Garstang, a student at Hereford College, took advantage of one of our student bursaries to attend a day on Surveying & Recording Historic Ironwork. Here he shares his experience:
“On a sunny day in May, I made my way to the lovely Buscot & Coleshill estate outside Swindon to attend a day-long seminar hosted by the NHIG. The day began with Rowan asking the question “Why assess ironwork?” and proceeding to eloquently explain why, showing perfect examples of some of the issues facing historic ironwork and its conservators, and advising on how to deal with them while having us laugh along the way. Shortly after we were lucky enough to have Andy Thearle present a fascinating case study of the restoration of a pair of cast iron Edwardian public conveniences. Taking us through the process step by step, he helped us understand both the practical and administrative hurdles conservators must overcome.
The second half of the day was more practical experience. Seeing Rowan Taylor assess a gate from a conservation perspective proved to be even more interesting that anyone expected as the gate we came across was a bizarre piece. It was tremendous fun for the whole group to discover and deconstruct a gate that wasn’t immediately impressive, but was constructed in ways most of us had never come across before. We also made use of the local National Trust protected lands to find some interesting pieces in need of conservation, which we were challenged to examine and assess ourselves, providing valuable practical experience.
I am so glad I attended this event. I met so many brilliant people – other blacksmiths, architects and surveyors – and got answers to questions I didn’t know I needed to ask. From gaining insights into the realities of taking on a large-scale conservation project to the effects of the Nobility scale on corrosion. I look forward to attending more NHIG events.”