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Conservation & Restoration

The Conservation and Restoration of Historic Ironwork

Find out all about our specialisms and facilities
at George James & Sons.

The Conservation and Restoration of Historic Ironwork

Gentle Restoration - Blacksmiths in Northamptonshire

We have gained a reputation for high quality conservation and restoration work and have worked on some of the most important and prestigious pieces of historic ironwork in the country.

Our principles and the way we go about our work have changed over the years as we have gained more experience and a greater understanding of good conservation practice. Our philosophy has always been to retain as much original ironwork as possible and to use materials and techniques that are appropriate to the work.

We are saddened that much of the historic work we come into contact with has over the years been abused by inappropriate techniques used by practitioners who do not understand or are incapable of doing skilled work to good standards. Heritage ironwork deserves the same respect and skills as other disciplines such as stained glass, stone or woodwork. We have been involved from an early stage with the National Heritage Ironwork Group whose aims and philosophy we share.

We would like to see an accreditation system for skilled practitioners and a greater awareness amongst professionals of the need for work to be undertaken by those who have both the skill and passion, and a greater understanding amongst blacksmiths of the differences between conservation and restoration.

The most frequent problems we encounter are corrosion and the effects of rust on the object by loss of material or distortion of surfaces caused through old age or neglect. Sometimes damage is accidental or there may be a need for sympathetic alterations to a listed piece of ironwork. The materials we usually work with are Wrought Iron, Cast Iron and Mild Steel although we have experience with Pure Iron, non ferrous alloys such as Bronze ,and Leadwork.

We can offer advice on

  • Historic significance
  • Condition reports
  • Recording
  • Cleaning

The appropriate use of original materials and the techniques required to faithfully replicate historic work

  • How to deal with corrosion
  • Finishing techniques and paint systems.
  • Maintenance schedules

Our list of clients includes Private estates, Historic Royal Palaces, Royal Parks, English Heritage, The National Trust, Local Authorities and private individuals.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

- Burford Methodist Chapel -

Project: Conservation and restoration of Grade 11* Listed Ironwork.

Location: Burford, Cotswolds


Burford Methodist Church is a baroque building in the High Street of Burford, Oxfordshire. It was built between about 1715 and 1730 as a private house and converted in 1849 to a Wesleyan Chapel .It is a Grade II* Listed Building. We were commissioned to clean, conserve and restore this fine 18th century gate and railings.  The lyre panels separating the plainer vertical palings had corrosion damage to their waterleaf work, and the railings to their fire welded leaf tops. The gate and overthrow had similar corrosion damage to the sheet iron acanthus leaf work and water leaves.

- Historic Royal Palaces -

Project: Conservation and restoration of wrought iron railings.

Location: Hampton Court Palace


The railings at Hampton Court separate the Deer Park from the Formal Gardens and date from between 1690 and 1705.  The work has involved the careful removal, conservation, restoration and careful re-fitting of this important historic ironwork ,using puddled wrought iron and traditional techniques.

Hampton Court Palace is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a World Heritage Site and it is a privilege to work in this environment. We have been working as part of a team of stonemasons, architects and surveyors to ensure the future of this important ironwork. 


- Northamptonshire County Council -

Project: The restoration of Cast and Wrought Iron Gates following accident damage.

Location: Overstone


The Gateway is Grade 11 listed and dates to the late 16th and early 17th century and was originally sited at The Old Hall in Pytchley. The archway was moved to its present location in the 19th Century and the Gates themselves date from approximately 1860.

The Pytchley gates suffered severe damage following a vehicle accident. There was also considerable damage to the stonework arch supporting the gates.

 The gates are made of a wrought iron framework with detailed cast iron panels. The accident resulted in twisting and breaking of the wrought iron and severe damage to the castings.

- The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge -

Project: Conservation and restoration of the railings and gates

Location: Cambridge


Conservation and restoration of the Fitzwilliam Museum railings and gates. 

The project involved the repair of wrought iron, cast iron and cast bronze parts to the metalwork. The main gates to the museum were made by Messenger & Sons in Birmingham in the early 19th century.

We can offer you something unique.

Our hand forged work is a way of working that produces textures and forms which are unique to the individual piece and distinct from machine made products.

We design to suit a location...

...and your ideas, not to assemble a piece from pre-made components.

We use a mixture of techniques...

...and technologies to make work affordable.

We can give you work with character and personality...

...our material is re-cyclable, very green and is built to last a lifetime.


Come visit us to discover how our craft will benefit your project

Example Map

22 Cransley Hill, Broughton
NN14 1NB
England UK
01536 790 295


For more information or to discuss a project in detail complete below.

Forging a future for things of the past

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