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Historic Scotland repair Bute ironwork

28 November 2007

A rare ironwork canopy in Bute is to be removed and repaired by Historic Scotland.

The decorative entranceway has been damaged by the elements over the years and the Scottish Government agency is stepping in to restore it to its former glory.

Project Manager Ali Davey, who works in the agency’s Technical Conservation, Research and Education Unit, is overseeing the careful dismantling.

She said: “The canopy is a beautiful example of cast ironwork that was typical of the Scottish Foundries in the 19th century but over time some of its features have been lost or been damaged in the salt air’’.

“Even amongst some of the incredible cast and wrought ironwork in Bute this canopy stands out and we are very grateful to the owner for the opportunity to study it so thoroughly.”

Scotland was one of the most important architectural ironwork producer in the world for most of the 19th century and designs created by a number of famous firms can still be seen all around the globe.

Historic Scotland had been looking for a suitable ‘live’ research subject to assess  a range of conservation, repair and maintenance techniques for iron when it became aware that the owner wished to repair the canopy.

The research will specifically look at;

  • Recording methods prior to dismantling
  • Cleaning methods for the decorative ironwork,
  • Repair and coating techniques, and
  • Replicating missing elements.

The canopy will be reinstated in the first half of 2008 and will be monitored over time to see how the repairs are affected over time.

Ms Davey added: “This is a particularly interesting case as the canopy was created by the Sun Foundry in Glasgow. Sun was one of the big four architectural ironfounders, each of which employed around 2,000 people.

“The information we can gather whilst returning the canopy to its original appearance will become integral to the preservation and treatment of ironwork in Scotland and around the world.”

Notes for editors

  1. Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government. It is responsible for safeguarding the nation’s historic environment and promoting its understanding and enjoyment. For more information visit

  2. The Technical Conservation, Research and Education Unit within the agency publishes a range guidance and advice suitable for professional and non-professionals interested in maintaining traditionally built properties. These publications can be found at

For further information

Lesley Brown
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8603 or 07788 923873