Hall Conservation Ltd




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In November 2016, the latest National Heritage Ironworks Group (NHIG) seminar took place at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Hall Conservation were delighted to be able to both take part in the day and also to help organise it.

Delegates were welcomed by David James, Chair of NHIG who outlined a little of the history of the organisation.

The morning programme consisted of seven short talks:

In the first presentation of the day, Chris Topp spoke about wrought iron.  He talked about its production, as well as outlining the various types and different grades of wrought iron that are available.   Chris explained how the differences in wrought iron can be used to date ironwork which can be extremely useful. He also outlined how wrought iron can be more resistant to corrosion than either pure iron or mild steel.

Chris Topp also spoke for the second presentation of the day, as he set about outlining repair methods to wrought iron.  Chris talked the attentive audience through methods that he had used in his own workshop.

Geoff Wallis delivered a talk on the production and different types of cast iron.  He explained the vital part it played in the shaping and expansion of Victorian buildings and the changes that helped shape the society of the time.  Perhaps Geoff’s most unusual slide was an advertisement for an “Anti-Resurrestionist casket” sold to people who were worried about the deceased loved ones returning to life and crawling their way out of a wooden coffin.

Geoff’s second talk covered a variety of repair methods that could be used with cast iron.  He also covered the best ways to design out common problems and flaws.

David James returned to the stage to talk about the uses of mild steel.  He explored the differences and the similaritites between mild steel and wrought iron.  He also explained how to use corrosion patterns to tell one from the other.

Hall Conservation’s own, Katrina Redman, spoke about what can happen when a ferrous metal is used with different matials such as wood or lead or stone.  Katrina outlined some of the corrosion issues that can arise in those circumstances as well as ways to overcome such problems.  The most effective way of overcoming such corrosion issues seemed to be to avoid creating the combination in the first place.  Katrina used an example from her recent work as an example, explaining how a stone arch in Scotland had become unstable due to the original ferrous supports having become corroded because of the repair techniques that had been used previously.

The last speaker before lunch was Adrian Legge, who took the delegates on a whistle stop tour of iron production over the last 4000 years.  Adrian managed to cover 4000 years in a little over 20 minutes, leaving the delegates hungry for both more information and their lunch.