Bronze Lions Restorations

27th January 2021

2020 was a year that nobody could have seen coming and one that has brought some highs and some very lows for us all. One of these highs included the opportunity to carry out the restoration of the historic bronze cast mooring points along London's famous Embankment, between Westminster Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, situated on the north side of the River Thames. The emergency mooring points were installed as part of the 1870 Embankment Project and remain an important part of the history and decoration around the historic Thames. The original mooring points were completed by sculptor, "T Butler of London" and foundry " W.Corbitt & Co of Rotherham, and these attributions can be identified by the nameplate behind the jaw. 

Dorothea was instructed to replace missing or extensively damaged components with new castings and to repair and retain all components as far as possible. Most of the lions had suffered some form of impact damage ranging from surface dents to sectional loss, or complete loss where components have fallen into the water below. During 2020 we cast new sections, some full replacement parts were required but over 95% of all existing components were repaired and retained. The scope of work included the following; 

  • Developing methodology and restoration plan 
  • Providing a specification for the proposed works 
  • Assessment of the existing condition and providing recommendations 
  • Manufacturing new fixing to match the historic  
  • Casting replica components where required 
  • Isolated repairs and restoration of existing components to stop further deterioration 
  • Clean and patinate bronze ready for installation by others
  • Keeping a detailed record of the work carried out on each component

The photo above identifies an area of the lion's mane which had impact damage and a section has broken off and left a hole. Dorothea copy cast these localised areas and reinstated the original detail to marry up with the remaining detail including any distortion which might be present as a result of the impact. The photo on the right identifies the areas once it has been prepared to receive the new insert piece and the left-hand photo once the repair has been completed