The stunning metal gates, that historically guarded the main entrance to Lambton Castle, began their restoration journey last week, as they left Lambton Park to travel to Stroud in Gloucestershire, to the workshops of Coode Conservation Partnership, who are specialists in the conservation and restoration of historic metalwork.
The refurbishment of the gates is just one of a number of projects ongoing behind the scenes at Lambton Park, funded in part by the redevelopment works taking place on part of the Estate.
Following several days preparation by the skilled Coode team, the gates, piers and adjoining railings were carefully dismantled section by section over the course of the day. Each piece was carefully numbered, before the permanent fixings, which had kept the piers and railing sections in place, were cut and the historic ironwork was then carefully lowered by cranes to the ground.
Once on the ground, it gave Alex Coode and his team, the chance to get a closer look at the unique metalwork. Alex, who established Coode Conservation Partnership stated “The skill and craftsmanship that has gone into creating these gates is second to none and it will be fascinating to see, once the restoration process is underway, how the original ironworkers created such technically challenging pieces”.
Alex and his team will be hoping that the restoration process will also reveal more information about the makers of the gates. Kate Jennings commented “Initially the gates will be power washed down to remove the mildew and lichen that has built up over the years. Then there will be a number of clues we will be looking out for, as we start the restoration, including the type of iron used, paint colour and any makers or rolling mill marks. All this information will potentially help us to establish their provenance and hopefully a timeline for when they came to Lambton, as at present much about the gates remains a mystery”.
The gates, piers and railings, which are estimated to weigh over 4 tonnes, were then carefully packed onto low loaders for their overnight journey to Stroud. The ironwork at ground level was then sealed with zinc paint to keep moisture out, as the intention is that once restored, the gates will be welded back onto their original fixings.
It is likely that the restoration could take up to six months and we will be receiving regular progress reports from the team at Coode Conservation Partnership, highlighting the techniques and processes they will be using to return these magnificent gates back to their former glory and hopefully resolve some long unanswered questions along the way.
For more information on the restoration process follow @lambtonparkuk and @coodeconservation #lambtongatesrestoration