Britannia employs the skills of local blacksmiths who are experienced in dealing with most aspects of hand made wrought iron including the conservation and/or restoration of true wrought iron and where necessary its replication. This coupled with the Company's capabilities with cast ironwork enables Britannia to offer a fullmetalwork restoration service.
The Company's philosophical approach to metalwork restoration is similar to the SPAB's philosophy of minimal intervention. However, where appropriate Britannia can undertake the manufacture of exact replica work.
Prominent examples of restoration contracts undertaken include the restoration of the cast and wrought ironwork on the Temple Bar gates in London (minimal intervention approach) and replacement of the fine eighteenth century railings to Shoreditch Church that were removed during the War (exact replica based on historical evidence).
Two interesting projects are illustrated on the left.
The first involved the complete restoration of an ornate cast iron
bandstand dating from 1894 for the promenade at Folkestone. The structure had been
badly corroded over the years by sea spray to the point where it was dangerous. Hence whole bandstand had to be carefully taken down and re-built using a combination of the existing and new replacement castings.
The second project was the restoration of wrought and cast iron railings to replace railings removed during the War from around the base of the Holbourn Memorial. This project involved the making of new exact replica castings when the only evidence of the original design was a combination of old photos and a single Victorian drawing.
Re-hanging the gates to the Temple Bar after restoration
Rebuilding Leas bandstand in Folkstone
New replica railings for the Holborn Memorial
The ‘Burning Bush Lamp post - Eton
The burning bush is a very elaborate listed wrought iron lantern belonging to Eton College which was so highly corroded that the wrought iron flower heads, which are such a distinctive part of the original design, had been completely been eaten away, hence the blacksmith had to re-make the flower heads interpreting the original design as best he could based solely on historical evidence from old photographs.
Albion Place Leeds
This very interesting contract completed over 20 years ago is unique in that the original church hall building was converted into a shopping centre and the Architect took the opportunity to use the old bell tower to become the extract flue for the new boiler system. The original tower had louvers and gargoyles made from timber which had to be replaced with non combustible metal and hence Britannia was called on to design and supply new cast aluminium gargoyles and steel louvers.
Balustrade – Sumner Place London SW1
The balustrade to the lower flight of stairs shown in the photograph was removed around fifty years ago and replaced by a stud partition. When the building was recently restored to its original condition Britannia was called upon to make exact replica balusters and a newel post to replace the missing lower flight.
St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch was modelled in the style of Christopher Wren by George Dance the Elder in 1736. The heavy cast iron railings in front of the church which are listed grade 1 are a rare example of early eighteenth century cast iron railings similar to those around St Pauls Cathedral. Nevertheless a section of the railings was removed during the war and had to be replaced with exact replicas.
The Royal Geographical Society
This project involved the replacement of wrought iron railings and gates removed in 1941 for the war effort. The project completed in 1992 and unveiled by Prince Charles required the new railings to be as near to being exact replicas of the originals designed by Norman Shaw and listed grade 11, as was possible using the photographic evidence available.
In addition to the projects illustrated Britannia has been involved in numerous other interesting projects over the years