Rowan Taylor,Backsmith
South Saxon Forge

As a craftsman, I am interested in the development and history of my craft. Sadly, hand forged ironwork has been badly neglected, and previous restorations of ironwork have been tantamount to vandalism, with work being carried-out by people with no training and little understanding of the materials.

After completing my training as a blacksmith, I applied for one of only eight places on the National Heritage Ironwork Group’s bursary apprenticeship scheme, and was honoured to obtain a place on the scheme after a practical exam and interview.

I have had an interest in historical irownwork since I started off as a blacksmith, and it is one of my goals to create reproductions and reconstructions of items for museums and collectors. However, I also want to maintain and restore classical and historic ironwork as a part of my career. This will involve anything from 20th century ironwork all the way down to medieval via Georgian wrought iron and Victorian cast iron (yes, I can repair and restore cast-iron!)

Throughout my training on the NHIG, I have, amongst many other things:

·         Worked on the restoration of the Tijou Screen at Hampton Court Palace.

·         Surveyed and condition assessed museum collections at the Royal Engineers Museum and Compton Verney’s Chinese Bronze Collection.

·         Worked on the restoration of an Italian WW2 Human Torpedo.

·         Restored wrought-iron railings and panels in the city of Bath.

·         Repurposed and extended a cast-iron gate.

·         Replaced the Pitot tubes and undercarriage on a Mk1 BoB veteran Spitfire.

·         Restored and extended mid 20thcentury railings by reproducing sections.

Materials which I can and have worked with include: Pure Iron, Wrought Iron, Mild Steel, Steel, Bronze, Brass, Copper, Aluminium and Cast-Iron, All of which I can weld, repair and forge (antique cast iron cannot be forged but some modern grades can).

All of these materials are present in historical “ironwork” and as such I am able to carry-out sensitive conservation and restoration of objects.

You may be interested in my restoration services if you:

·         Own an old building.

·         Live in a conservation area.

·         Are applying for planning permission to a listed building.