Archaeometallurgy Conference 2009ConferencePhoto
10th-12th November 2009
University of Bradford
Organised by Eleanor Blakelock


The conference was conceived as an opportunity to celebrate Gerry McDonnell's contribution to archaeometallurgy over the years, to wish him well for his future career and to give him the send-off fromBradford that he deserved. Current students presented research alongside former ones, but other presentations were provided by his many friends and colleagues from the field. Despite, or perhaps because, of its origins, the conference was not the slightest bit sombre but instead looked to the future, and provided an opportunity for a much larger HMS Research in Progress meeting than normal, encouraging contributions from around the globe.

The conference abstract book can be downloaded using this link.

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Conference Review

There was an impressive turnout for the Bradford conference with a packed auditorium and an equally full line up of speakers and poster presentations. The programme began with a presentation by Juilien Fang, who presented her findings on alloying and colour change. It was a particularly interesting subject being relevant to current research themes in material culture studies and one worthy of the prize for best Student Presentation. Jane Cowgill followed with a presentation on a particular type of slag known as “Iron Age Grey” that seems to be present only between 400-300 BC. It is thought to be so characteristic that it can be used to date a site. Despite its limited chronology, it is found at almost every British Iron Age site of every size, and despite its resemblance to them, it is never found with fuel ash slag.

Jim Brophy updated the audience on the Nidderdale Iron project, an impressive community based project which is going from strength to strength with an impressive range of sites now documented. Ed Kendall looked at usewear on Roman and Medieval knives. In common with Jui-Lien Fang’s paper this approach ties directly to current concerns such as artefact biographies in Material Culture Studies and demonstrates the health of metal-centred studies. Samantha Rubinson presented aspects of her recently completed PhD and looked at how the analysis of iron alloys could be used to reconstruct economic patterns in the medieval period. HMS Chairman, Tim Young, presented his work on Irish smithing slags questioning their size and formation whilst Susan La Niece reported her recent study of an English medieval jug that appears to have been the product of sideline activities in bell foundries. Rachel Hewitt and David Starley looked at compositional and typological variation in arrowheads used during the War of the Roses. They concluded that shape was more important than composition. Day One was concluded by Jane Wheeler who argued that the impact of medieval and early modern iron working on woodlands in North Yorkshire could be understood through pollen analysis, and that it was apparent that the area was carefully managed for production of hardwoods for charcoal.

Tim Taylor started the second day with a paper which looked at how prehistoric communities envalued metals and developed concepts of materiality when there was a conspicuous absence of metals. This was followed by Alan Doust who argued for a contextual approach to archaeometallurgical projects. Christina Clarke-Nielsen gave an impressively detailed account of raised vessel manufacture drawing largely on her experience as a metalworker. Giovanna Fregni looked at the effects of remelting on copper alloy composition noting the surprising stability of tin over remelting cycles. Burkart Ullrich presented his geophysical work on quantifying quantities of ferrous slags at archaeometallurgical sites. Roger Doonan presented a paper on the relationship between iron smithing and literacy in EIA Greece and noted that literacy and craftwork are both skills requiring dexterity and may be more related than is often thought. David Dungworth asked why archaeometallurgists have dismissed the idea of a bowl furnace for iron smelting and suggested that evolutionary accounts of technology may well be to blame. Peter Halkon updated the conference on his work in East Yorkshire looking at Iron Age production sites and associated paraphernalia and their relation to the continent. Janet Lang reported on her metallographic analyses on the iron rimmed chariot tyres in East Yorkshire burials with particular focus on one piece iron bands or tyers. Reference was made to rural American blacksmithing and descriptions of how to fit the metal tyer to a wooden rim.

The final day began with Maxime L'Héritier speaking about experiments using saiger prozess, a technique developed in 14th Century Europe for parting silver from copper. This was followed by Marie-Pierre Guirado also reporting experimental work in silver refining but this time by cupellation with particular attention given to the formation of litharge cakes. Peter Claughton continued the precious metal theme with a discussion of late Medieval lead/silver smelting slag and their apparent absence in the archaeological record. Litharge cakes received further attention from Justine Bayley, HMS Journal editor, presenting further work on their structure and composition. Patrice de Rijk detailed the ongoing work at the Stanley Grange Medieval Iron Project and the exploitation of ironstone in the 13th Century. Peter King spoke about the politics associated with the development of ironworks in the 1720's and the context of innovations. Eleanor Blakelock concentrated on Viking knife manufacture and how discrete fabrication traditions can be identified. Arne Esplund presented a total of two papers with his second on a two step iron process from Norway. The conference was concluded with Tim Young speaking on the formation of spherical hammerscale before making the closing remarks. All in all a great success and fitting honour to Gerry.

 

 

Iron Age East Yorkshire
Archaeology Committee Workshop

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22nd-24th March 2013
Hull, Yorkshire
Organiser Peter Halkon

 

This conference was primarily fieldtrip baed, with highlights including;

  • Guided tour of prehistoric iron production sites in the region.
  • A guided visit to the Arras barrow cemetery site.
  • Reception and exclusive viewing of the South Cave Weapons Cache, a Late Iron Age cache of five iron swords in ornate La Tene scabbards and 33 iron spearheads discovered in East Yorkshire.
  • Guided tour of the Hull and East Riding Museum.

Link to the programme is here

 

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Review

In March some HMS members braved snow and icy winds to attend the Archaeology Committee Spring Workshop which had been organised by Peter Halkon and Yvonne Inall from the University of Hull. A combination of museum visits and field trips was arranged to illustrate the theme of Iron Age ironworking.

The meeting began with a Friday evening reception at the aptly-named Treasure House in Beverley. This combined library, archive and museum building opened in 2007 and holds the archaeological collections of the East Riding Museums Service. Here, delegates were able to see the very impressive cache of Iron Age swords from
South Cave, discovered by metal detectorists in 2002.

Some members of the group also took advantage of the opportunity to wield a replica sword, made in 2009 by Roland Williamson. After the reception, delegates repaired to the accommodation in Hull, at the delightful Endsleigh Centre. This was built in 1901 as a Convent of the Sisters of Mercy and included a training College. The College closed in the 1970s and since 1995 the Endsleigh Centre
has been a retreat and conference centre – still run by the very friendly and welcoming Sisters.

Overnight snowfall greeted delegates the following morning. Undeterred, the group boarded the minibus to explore some Iron Age sites and landscapes under the expert leadership of Peter Halkon, who has known this landscape since childhood and has been involved in many of the most important excavations. Some delegates took a while to get accustomed to the East Yorkshire definition of ‘hill’; however the icy Russian wind and drifting snow encountered at the famous Arras burial ground convinced most people that this was indeed high ground.

The trip then moved into the relatively low-lying area surrounding the River Foulness, which in the Iron Age was a much larger body of water feeding into the Walling Fen and thence to the Humber. The group investigated two sites, on either side of the former Fen. The first of these was at Moore’s Farm, Welham Bridge, the scene of substantial bog-ore smelting – indeed this was the site of the excavation of the largest slag heap ever found in Iron Age England. Weighing a massive 5338kg, this represented the production of up to between one and two tonnes of bloom (Halkon 2011, 139). Undeterred by the snow and freezing temperatures delegates enthusiastically began fieldwalking, returning to the minibus proudly bearing bits of slag.

The second site was at Hasholme. Famous for its log boat excavated in 1984, the trip explored an adjacent enclosure and again discovered various lumps of slag and bog-ore – along with a very nice decorated greyware rim-sherd. A recent scheme has restored a small area of adjacent wetland to very much its Iron Age appearance, so there was a vivid impression of the former shoreline of the Walling Fen.

The farmhouse kitchen provided a welcome warm break during which delegates were able to inspect an impressive collection of portable antiquities discovered by the farmer over the years.

After lunch at the Red Lion in Holme-upon-Spalding Moor, the workshop returned to Hull where an enjoyable afternoon was spent in the East Riding Museum. Peter led a tour of the galleries. Although the focus on the Iron Age meant inevitable enthusiasm for items such as the North Grimston Sword, there was also an impressive collection of Roman and medieval metalwork. The Museum also houses the Hasholme boat, although sadly the conservation programme was stopped in 2009 leading to some deterioration in its condition.

A quick pint at the Black Boy was followed by a very nice dinner at Princes Quay, and some delegates followed this with further drinks at the George.

Sadly the trip planned for the following morning was cancelled, due to snow and looding. Some delegates made their way to Beverley, for a pleasant morning inspecting the Minster and various items of cast-iron street furniture. This was a hugely enjoyable meeting, despite the weather; many thanks to Peter and Yvonne for organising it.

 Written by Paul Belford for The Crucible 82

 

Research in Progress Meeting

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Thursday 9th November 2017
University of Liverpool
Organised by Dr Matthew Ponting and his students

 

The Research in Progress meetings are aimed at a wide variety of contributors, from historical and archaeological metallurgists to excavators, historians and economists. Presentations were given on a range of topics, from a variety of speakers in a friendly environment.

The HMS prize is awarded for the best presentation by a student at the meeting was awarded to Alan Williams for his research on 'Characterising Bronze Age copper from the Great Orme mine to reveal its spatial and temporal distribution'.

 Link to the programme is here

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Review

The 2017 Historical Metallurgy Research in Progress meeting was held at the University of Liverpool on the 9th of November. Held in a Faculty library the meeting was well attended with a great environment.

The meeting kicked off with the first talk ‘The spatial organisation of Roman Lead production in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire’ given by student Nicholas Clarke. Using chemical analysis it was possible to look at relative difference in lead content of the soil with a Roman fort and surrounding vicus. This revealed a larger concentration of lead within the fort itself, perhaps showing where the lead is being stored or potentially from when the workers washed their clothes.

The next talk was by Alan Williams on ‘Characterising Bronze Age copper from the Great Orme mine to reveal its spatial and temporal distribution’. This presentation discussed the potential wide ranging trade networks within Britain using a new methodology for looking at mine based metal groups rather than artefact based groups, using chemical composition and lead isotopes.

In Vanda Morton’s presentation ‘Types of evidence available at successive periods and places, for the production, use and trade of brass, up to AD1800’ we were given a wide sweeping overlook at brass production over time. The presentation focused primarily on the different clues hidden in a range of evidence, from archaeology and artefacts to documents and paintings.

After a short break Peter Claughton provided an insightful presentation on the ‘Iron and steel production during the First World War’. This talk discussed the production of iron and changes of the ores sourced for the industry, from imported to home production. In addition the demands of war meant that many skilled workers were drawn into military service, and the consequences were shown in this presentation.

From Poland Kamila Brodowska came to share her experiences of the extremely large bloomer fields in a presentation entitled ‘From fieldwork to experiment - what we know today about ancient furnaces from The Mazovian Centre of Metallurgy, Poland’. The amazing archaeological evidence was then followed by results of experimental work at the Mazovian Centre of Metallurgy to build an understanding of the processes involved.

The next talk was given by Peter Gethin on ‘Compositional trends within diagnostic and non-diagnostic smithing slag assemblages; examining contemporary materials from Middle Islamic Tell Dhiban and the Old City of Jerusalem’. He presented the results from the analysis of smithing slags to investigate any differences between the two sites.

Lunch was provided within the library which allowed for networking. Following lunch there was an opportunity to visit the Garstang Museum of Archaeology which consists of archaeological artefacts, from the ancient Near East, Mediterranean and Europe.

After lunch we had three presentations from colleagues from the University of Liverpool on the recent research of ancient coinage. The first talk given by Jake Morley-Stone was on ‘Late Pre-Roman Iron Age pellet moulds from Scotch Corner’ which detailed experimental work carried out to investigate the production and use of pellet moulds, and providing comparative material for comparison with those from Scotch Corner. The next talk given by Nicola George was also based on ‘Experiments in Roman minting technology’, here she investigated how different mould materials affected the process of inverse segregation seen in many debased coins. The final talk of the day was by Diana Nikolova who discussed the ‘Debasement and Economic Fluctuation in Hellenistic Egypt: Chemical Analysis of Ptolemaic Coinage’ and introduced an alternative methodology for the examination of the Ptolemaic economy by investigating the composition of silver and bronze coins, and their amount of debasement.

All in all a fantastic day, with excellent presentations and a really friendly environment. The student presentation as usual were excellent and this made it difficult for the HMS council members top choose a best presentation, however we felt that Alan Williams presentation with well argued discussion and contribution to a larger debate was worthy of the HMS student prize. Thanks must go to Mathew Ponting and his team of students for arranging a successful and interesting meeting.

 Review written by Eleanor Blakelock for The Crucible 96

Research in Progress Meeting

 

 

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Thursday 10th October 2013

Department of Archaeology,
University of Exeter.

Organised by Tathagata Neogi and Brice Girbal

 

The Research in Progress meetings are aimed at a wide variety of contributors, from historical and archaeological metallurgists to excavators, historians and economists. Presentations were given on a range of topics, from a variety of speakers in a friendly environment.

The HMS prize is awarded for the best presentation by a student at the meeting was awarded to Giovanna Fregni for her presentation 'Minimum tools required: a system for organising Bronze Age metal-smithing tools'.

Link to programme is available here.

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Review

After an early start I arrived at Exeter University for the research in progress meeting. These meetings provide an excellent platform for a range of speakers including academics, students and professionals as well as groups or individuals with an interest in historical metallurgy. As usual the talks offered a fantastic overview of various research projects currently taking place. The range of approaches taken was also particularly interesting, with presentations of experimental studies, instrumental analyses, historical economic based work and academic research in different combinations.

The meeting started with the student presentations, which as usual were excellent and made it very difficult for the HMS council members present to choose a winner for the student prize. This year Giovanna Fregni was awarded the prize for her presentation on the ‘minimum tools required: a system for organising Bronze Age metal-smithing tools’. Through the creation of a detailed catalogue of Bronze Age tools she was able to understand the processes taking place, identify the potential activities being carried out by owners of hoards and even suggest tools that are missing or may have been misinterpreted.

Tathagata Neogi’s presentation and research focuses on the people and society behind iron working in India, and this has revealed much about the nature of iron-working in the community and its relationship to those involved, the techniques used, trade and religion. Brice Girbal, also working in India, is investigating Wootz steel production, he intends to not only visually assess the material collected but also to carry out scientific analysis to investigate the raw materials used and processes involved.

The presentation by Angela Wickenden provided a possible use for tin mine waste, new and old, in the production of ceramic vessels. Steffan Klemenic carried out a number of experiments to replicate the rivet holes found on the tangs of bronze swords. David Budd presented joint research with Katheryn Bonnet looking at the manufacture in the hope that this would reveal the possible use of the rather strange billhook’s found in cemetery contexts. The results from this study, while shedding light on the construction methods, still have not revealed a use for the tool, which is still a mystery.

After the student presentations, Tom Greeves introduced us to the site of Upper Merrivale Tin Mill where a series of excavations have taken place 1991-1996. The slag has been analysed but there are a number of soil samples still waiting to be analysed to reveal more about the efficacy of the process and changes through time.

A presentation by Roger Hutchins questioned the use of long reaves on Dartmoor as early boundaries, and provided both map and photographic evidence to suggest that they connected various mines and trading points, and could therefore have acted as track ways to transport ore from the mines, possibly using pack animals.

Steve Grudgings gave two interesting presentations on the iron and steel used to build the Newcomen engine, and also specifically on the manufacture of the early boilers. Chris McKay introduced us to the turret clock in the church of St Cuthberga, Wimborne Minster and the speculative amounts of iron, brass and wire required to manufacture it.

The analysis of the archaeometallurgical residues from the Ynysfach ironworks was presented by Tim Young; this included research on the refining process slag which revealed that it had an important de-phosphorisation effect in addition to de-siliconisation, thus increasing our knowledge of the refining process. Neil Philips reported on the new research and excavations carried out at the early Angidy works. This has revealed another large building with a 6m wheel pit and the ghost of a battery frame, all of which are not on the 1763 map. Finally Peter King gave a detailed presentation on the charcoal consumption in the iron industry in England and Wales.

All in all, Tathagata Neogi and Brice Girbal organised and hosted an excellent Research in Progress meeting at the University of Exeter, under the watchful eye of Gill Juleff..

  Review written by Eleanor Blakelock for The Crucible 84

 

 

100th Anniversary of Stainless Steel
HMS Annual Conference

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19th-20th October 2013
Cutlers' Hall, Sheffield, S1 1HG
Organiser Eleanor Blakelock

 

Another anniversary to celebrate this year, On the 20th August 1913, local metallurgist Harry Brearley made his first arc furnace cast of stainless steel in Sheffield. Therefore to mark this occasion the 2013 Annual Meeting we will be holding a two day conference in the Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield. There will be presentations on the Saturday and field trip on the Sunday will be to Kelham Island, this includes an opportunity to see the River Don Engine in action.

Link to programme here and the abstract book here

 

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Review

The magnificent Cutlers' Hall in Sheffield was the setting for our HMS Annual Conference. I cannot think of a more fitting location to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Stainless Steel than in the city of its birth. The conference was a reflection of the history of HMS and the story of stainless steel, its conception, its development, through to modern day industrial practices and contemporary uses of this dynamic material.

The delegates included a diverse mix from the worlds of industry, academia and amateur. This made for a multi-faceted perspective which was highly informative and thought provoking. The day began with an overview of the history of the Historical Metallurgy Society, which was given by two of the journal's editors, Justine Bayley and David Crossley. This presentation included a diverse collection of images which provided a fascinating look at how the society has progressed over its fifty years. This presentation served as a fitting introduction to an exciting programme of talks to follow.

The day continued with a presentation by David Dulieu, the author of 'Stay Bright: A History of Stainless Steels in Britain'. This presentation provided a thorough introduction to Brearley and his discovery of stainless steel in 1913. The presentation provided an excellent overview of the early development of the stainless steel industry in Sheffield, as well as discussing some controversial moments within its history. This was followed by John Beeley of Outokumpu Stainless, who discussed the stainless steel industry 100 years on. He explained through various company mergers half a million tons of the metal is still being melted per annum.

After lunch we were invited to the Muniments Room. This gave us the opportunity to view a selection of historic knives, in particular the multi-bladed Norfolk Knife by Joseph Rodgers and Sons' Norfolk Street Works. This display consists of a comprehensive collection of 72 knives constructed in a Swiss army like form for the Great Exhibition of 1851. In addition, copies of '100 Years of Stainless Steel' were made available for purchase.Joan Unwin took us through the history of the knife drawer, including an overview of the progression of the domestic knife set and the changes that are evident in the design of blade and handle type. She discussed how the stamping out of cutlery rather than the traditional assembly method changed the industry in the 1960s. She highlighted the fact that the local industry changed irrevocably due to the importation of less expensive metal from developing countries. This was followed by an informative discussion by Peter King who gave an in-depth analysis of the statistics of the iron and steel industry 1860-1886.

After refreshments the afternoon session began with a presentation by Mick Steeper and Jonathan Aylen on rolling mills and their development from the steam-powered (the Rive Don engine being a prime example), to electricity and finally to the modern computer mechanised. The paper ended with an overview of today's metal-forming industry and the effects on Sheffield.

The day ended with a stimulating paper from Robert Booth, a sculptor in stainless steel and an avid performance caster. The paper displayed his work (http://www.robertbooth.co.uk) and showed the aesthetic beauty of the material rather than focusing purely on its functional use.

An interesting and informative weekend culminated in a field trip to the Kelham Museum on the banks of the River Don on Sunday morning. For the first time visitor this really is a thrilling experience. The visit was topped off by viewing the River Don Engine fully operational, complete with reverse gear change at full speed (this is worth the journey alone. On a final note, HMS would like to take this opportunity to thank all delegates for participating in what was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. In particular the society owes a great debt of gratitude to Ellie Blakelock for producing yet another first class meeting. A special thanks should also be noted to Joan Unwin for her contribution throughout the day.

Written by Vanessa Castagnino for The Crucible 84

 

 

Celebrating Street Furniture

12th-14th June 2015
Stratford upon Avon
Organised by Rachel Cubitt, Margaret Birch and Eddie Birch

 

Street furniture is a rich but much overlooked resource. The conference themes included manufacturers, methods and technology, but also went beyond metallurgy to discuss design choices, trade patterns and the social and economic considerations. Also discussed were the needs for recording and preservation of these slowly diminishing objects. A evening and day of presentations was followed by a tour of Stratford-upon-Avon which boasts a unique display of lamp posts from the UK and beyond.

The Glass-Bottomed Walking Bus Tour.

Following the formal sessions, the Sunday morning of the conference consisted of a walking tour of central Stratford-upon-Avon. This provided an opportunity to admire Stratford’s unique display of lamp posts from around the UK and beyond, and to spend time looking in detail at other examples of street furniture, but also provided an opportunity to network with other delegates.

The programme is available here

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Review

Nestled in the heart of Warwickshire is the home of William Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon, a beautiful, quaint and idyllic... and ... esteemed location of the annual conference of the Historical Metallurgy Society 2015.

Meeting up with people is always a great event and any opportunity to do so is always very welcome, and this was no exception.

Paul Dobraszczyk, of University of Manchester, as the keynote speaker, kicked off the conference on the Friday evening. Paul’s lecture “Social Ornament: iron on the street” was a wonderful start that imparted a context on the conference subject, “Celebrating Street Furniture”.

The keynote lecture was followed up by a trip out to one of the local eateries and a few drinks to catch up with those attending.

On the Saturday morning, following the previous nights impressive thunderstorm, the lectures of the conference got started with Dr. Peter King’s dissertation on 18th century iron-founding: air furnaces and coke-smelting. Peter’s ability to paint a historical picture that is approachable to all in the audience was again in evidence as he gave light to the mysteries of the furnaces and their workings in the most intricate and wonderfully enticing detail.

Richard Williams followed up and continued with the theme of foundries with his lecture “The Production of Foundry Irons from 18th Century Charcoal and Coke fired Blast Furnaces”. His descriptions of the workings of the foundry and its output described so much of the street furniture that we are currently aware of, yet in a contemporary context of the 17 and 18 hundreds.

In a totally different vein, Jonathan Prus described a project that will allow the easy access for all concerned to the production and administrative details of the foundries of the UK historically, in his lecture “Who made that? Access to data on foundry history”.

Chris McKay asked us to look up at the tower clocks that are present in so many of our town squares. He gave us a great idea of how these clocks were made, and of course why! His lecture “Cast Iron Time” was littered with pictures of these “behemoths of time” and proved to be a very interesting and enlightening, not to mention educational presentation.

“Knock knock, what’s there?” was the story of the Arundel Castle bell-pull, which had recently had a another layer of history added to its story, with the conservation work carried out by William Hawkes, at West Dean College. This lecture demonstrated the other side of the story of our cultural heritage and what it takes to keep the objects we cherish safe and in good condition.

Ruth Rhynas Brown showed us that recycling is nothing new with her lecture “Re-using old cannon”. This presentation gave an insight into the re-use of canons of all things, to make street bollards! This was an interesting insight in to a historical aspect of a perennial problem we have today, yet we seem to have had a much greater degree of ingenuity in the past.

The lunch break gave time for us to pause and reflect on the morning’s proceedings before we were thrust in to another session of intrigue interest and wonderment. The hotel put on a superb lunch and we wanted for nothing as the hotels staff did all they could to provide us with a superb service and a great time.

Immediately after lunch Paul Belford was intended to have carried on the refreshment theme with his lecture “Beer, coal and light: a preliminary study of cellar access systems”. However Paul was sadly unable to attend the conference, but we were fortunate enough to have Eddie Birch who is more than capable of stepping into the breach. And so Eddie, with his usual high level of ability and competence, presented Paul’s paper. This work gave insight into the humble drey-drop and all it entails. Painting an interesting and realistic picture of the drey-mans job and how the street furniture beneath our feet plays an integral part in the day to day running of businesses, modern and historical.

Rachel Cubitt followed up with an interesting and enticing take on the foundries of York and surrounding area, showing us the beauty of her home towns street furniture and where it plays a part in the fabric of the city.

Eleanor Cooper, of the Oxford Preservation Trust inspired us to look a little deeper at the project being run by Oxford City Council in her lecture entitled “Oxford Preservation Trust and Oxford City Council Victorian Railings Reinstatement”. This gave an interesting insight into the work that is being done to preserve the street furniture we hold so dear, and how it might work for other councils to do the same.

“Survey of Cast Iron Lamp Posts in Clifton and Hotwells, Bristol” was next up from Maggie Shapland, of Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society / Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society. This whistle-stop tour of the area of Bristol gave us an insight into what happens when we look up. The often-ignored lamppost was the subjects here and was bought into sharp focus by an enticing lecture full of the wonders of ironclad Bristol.

Finally finishing the day’s proceedings was Andrew Naylor of Hall Conservation. His lecture “Street Level Conservation” was a catalogue of the fantastic projects he and his company have undertaken in the preservation of the street furniture around the UK. The work he and his team carry out is an exemplary showcase of the type of work we need to pursue to preserve the very fabric of the streets we enjoy today, and hope to enjoy for the future to come.

Following on from the superb dinner on the Saturday night... On the Sunday, following the lectures of the previous day, the delegates were able to take a tour of Stratford to experience exactly what we had been so enlightened about the day before. Taking in the historic lamppost collection as well as other items of interesting street furniture along the historic spine, this tour was a flexible look at the city that had so graciously hosted us and all it has to offer.

So... Wide and varied, interesting and intriguing, all of the lectures gave an insight and education alike into the workings of the streets we tread on a daily basis. Many of us will never look at the humble street furniture in the same way again, and perhaps that’s the best thing that has come out of this conference: The ability to look up, to look down, to see... and really observe. But not just to see, to really understand. We have been given an insight into the form, function, and history, and in fact, the desirability of our most often encountered object based heritage. This rare opportunity to look into what we encounter every day was an inspired choice by the organisers. It was an opportunity that I personally was very grateful to be able to experience and take part in, and most sincerely hope to be able to repeat again in the future.

 Review written by William Hawkes for The Crucible 90

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