Historic Metalwork

Working together we have managed or personally carried out architectural and structural metalwork contracts up to £1 million.

Projects include bridges, cast iron buildings, heritage ironwork, glazed plant-houses and conservatories, statuary, gates and railings, balconies, metal windows, roofs, rain-water goods, staircases and balustrades, and fountains.

We have carried out over 150 condition surveys and specified repairs on structures made of most of the architectural metals and a number of timber structures too.

For repairs to cast iron I have developed a composite process combining metal-stitching and fibre-reinforced resin which can restore 100% of tensile strength in broken castings.

For high quality repairs to traditional wrought ironwork I am keen that genuine 'puddled' wrought iron is used rather than modern equivalents. I am a founder and director of the National Heritage Ironwork Group which aims to define and promote good practice in the conservation of ironwork and provide training for blacksmiths.

Below are a few examples of previously undertaken architectural and structural metalwork projects:

William Beckford's Tower, Lansdown Hill, Bath

William Beckford's early nineteenth century listed tower atop Lansdown Hill overlooking Bath sports an elaborate gilded cast iron cupola. Under my direction, the structure was partially dismantled, restored, painted, re-erected and guilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf.

The British Museum Gates, London

The British Museum's Grade 1 listed main entrance gates were partially dismantled to allow lorry access for the Great Court Millennium project. After re-erection they would not operate reliably and resisted all attempts at a cure. In 2007 I carried out a thorough survey of the four 5-tonne gates and developed a strategy for refurbishing them and their electro-mechanical opening mechanisms. I subsequently managed the one-year restoration contract for Dorothea Restorations Ltd which was completed to budget and programme with the gates in continuous use.

Camelia House, Wollaton Park, Nottingham.

Wollaton Park's Grade 1 Camellia House, constructed in the mid 1820's, is one of the earliest in the UK. I directed the £1 million restoration main-contract carried out by Dorothea Restorations Ltd, which comprised dismantling, restoration, painting, re-erection, stonework repairs, M & E services and provision of a translucent polymer over-roof to protect the delicate glass. The camellias remained in place throughout and suffered no losses.

Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge (Grade 1) was completed in 1864 to the design of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I have directed or personally carried out a number of contracts including supply and installation of 'anti-suicide' fencing, replacement of critical structural parts, providing emergency stabilisation when a hanger failed over a week-end, and development of a method of dismantling seized components.

Clifton Suspension Bridge's chains pass over rollers on the towers to allow movement. In 2010 I developed and implemented a method of cleaning and lubricating each of the fifty cast iron rollers whilst still carrying their 650T loads.

Drayton Park, Oxfordshire

In 2013 surveyed six eighteenth century grade 1 listed wrought iron garden structures at Drayton Park in Oxfordshire, prepared a costed schedule of repairs and specifications.

Hilton Hall, Staffordshire

The early nineteenth century Grade 1 Forcing House at Hilton Park, Staffordshire was on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk Register, and at risk of collapse. In 2011 I surveyed the structure and developed a detailed, costed proposal for restoration of the metalwork which was subsequently part-funded by EH and delivered under my supervision.

Railway Turntables, Kings Cross, London

Listed cast iron railway turntables in the former goods yard at Kings Cross, London were retained as part of a major redevelopment. The structures were surveyed and a costed schedule of repairs was prepared.

Lorne House, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The restoration of the listed Victorian conservatory at Lorne House, Belfast was planned and carried out by Dorothea Restorations Ltd under my direction.

Langley Park House, Berkshire

The listed late Victorian conservatory at Langley Park, Berkshire, one of many for which I have carried out a condition survey and prepared a specification and/or schedule of repairs.

Mottistone Abbey, Isle of Wight

GW Conservation specialises in the repair and maintenance of historic metal windows. At the National Trust's Grade 1 listed Mottistone Abbey on the Isle of Wight I surveyed and specified repairs to seventy bronze windows manufactured by Hope of Birmingham. I subsequently personally restored each window and its historic glass. Please refer to the testimonials section of this web-site.

The Royal Exchange, London

The Royal Exchange in the City of London was founded by the Gresham family whose grass-hopper family emblem was modelled as a copper weathervane atop the cupola 80m above ground level. A strong wind detached one leg which crashed through a roof below. At short notice Dorothea Restorations Ltd under my personal supervision mobilised to site and removed the whole weather-vane and subsequently restored it. Both the removal and reinstatement entailed delicate craning operations and exciting aerial journeys with fine views!

St. Alkmunds Church, Shrewsbury

The Grade 1 listed cast iron windows of St. Alkmunds Church, Shrewsbury contain historic glass, including in the great east window painted by Francis Eginton in 1794. Settlement of overlaying stonework and water-penetration caused serious deformation of several windows and presented considerable challenges in the restoration of both the metalwork and historic glass. Dorothea Restorations Ltd carried out the dismantling, strengthening, painting and re-erection of the windows without significant loss of historic glass, working under my direction, and in close liaison with English Heritage and a glazing specialist.

Swiss Garden Fernery, Bedforshire

At the Swiss Garden, Old Warden, Bedfordshire, Geoff Wallis prepared condition surveys, specifications and schedules of repairs for the Victorian Fernery, two bridges, two floral arches, a rare cast iron urn, an aerial walkway and historic fencing as part of a successful HLF bid.

Pedestrian Bridge at Whitehead Station, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

The listed pedestrian over-bridge at Whitehead Station, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was manufactured by Macfarlane & Co of Glasgow in late Victorian times. Being immediately adjacent the sea it suffered severe corrosion so had to be dismantled, repaired at works, painted and re-erected, all craning operations being undertaken during night-time possessions. Dorothea Restorations Ltd carried out the work successfully under my personal supervision.