Home Events Fitting the New to the Old: Designing New Ironwork for Heritage Settings

Fitting the New to the Old: Designing New Ironwork for Heritage Settings

In the first of our summer series Second Tuesday Talks, Bethan Griffiths (The Ironwork Studio) will explore how new ironwork is designed for heritage settings.

New designs in heritage settings will always stimulate debate. Whether the design is reticent and recessive, or boldly contemporary, there will always be vehement advocates for and against the outcome.

So how do you go about creating an imaginative and confident response, derived from the context, which not only respects but enhances historic surroundings?

Bethan will explore design approaches to new work in historic settings, illustrating her discussion with case studies. She will look at how, as designers, we can understand, respond to and engage with, the unique places for which they are commissioned.

Although this talk focuses upon ironwork, the same issues relate to other craft disciplines.

In Conversation

Following her talk, Bethan will be joined by World Heritage Site Conservation Officer, Adrian Neilson, and award-winning Conservation Architect, Rhys Brookes, for a 30-minute Q&A session. This will enable the audience to hear the different perspectives of all those involved the process of designing new ironwork for heritage settings, reflecting the collaboration between craftsperson, architect and conservation officer. Together they will answer delegates’ questions and expand the discussion, where appropriate, to give a more rounded outlook.

About the Speaker

Bethan Griffiths, director of The Ironwork Studio, is a specialist designer and consultant in decorative architectural ironwork. Beautiful work, skilfully crafted is at the heart of what she offers, providing inspiration and expert knowledge to both create and restore ironwork.

Her passion for metalwork, especially blacksmithing, developed while studying for her BA in Three-Dimensional Design. This has led to her being involved in a wide range of prominent projects from a new contemporary Bandstand for a World Heritage Site to the restoration of Grade 1 listed work. In giving something back to her craft, Bethan has been involved in many voluntary projects. Most recently she is significantly involved with the development of guidelines, training and accreditation for the restoration of heritage ironwork through her position as Trustee for the National Heritage Ironwork Group (NHIG).

About the Question Panel

Adrian Neilson is currently Senior Conservation Officer in the World Heritage City of Bath. After studying history at the University of Exeter he went on to study for an MA in archaeology at the University of Bristol. Adrian started his architectural conservation career 16 years ago working with specialist conservation contractors as a conservator, managing sites conserving a diverse range of historic buildings in the South West of England, including many mediaeval churches. During this time he studied for an MSc in the Conservation of Historic Buildings at the University of Bath before embarking on career in local government as a Historic Buildings Officer. Adrian is involved in the conservation and reinstatement of architectural ironwork, advising and working closely with conservation architects and community groups. He is a member of the IHBC, Chartered Institute for Archaeology and in 2018 was invited to be on the Council of the NHIG.

Rhys Brookes trained as an Architect at Bath University, graduating in 1989. His initial experience was gained working on a selection of Grade I listed classical buildings such as the temples at Stowe garden and a range of stately homes. He completed the Post Graduate Diploma of Conservation at the Architectural Association, London in 1997. Rhys’ work is driven by a desire to ‘crack the code’ of buildings, unpicking the rationale and evolution of their form, construction and materials in order to make informed decisions about repairs or adaptations. He uses his skill and aptitude for traditional drafting techniques to explore the geometry and proportions that create harmony in new design and facilitate historical analysis.


14 July 2020


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Online (Zoom)

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