Sir Edwin Lutyens

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Sir Edwin Lutyens classic D handle forged ironwork reproduction

Well, Sir Edwin Lutyens has made it onto Time Team!

I have to write something about that, from a Blacksmiths point of view of course….. we make and re-work many of his designs and participate in restoring and developing many of his buildings, its almost a specialty, we must have made more than any Designer Blacksmith , one order was over 500kg I seem to remember.

Lutyens used ironwork quite a bit on, or rather in his buildings, but not in the way you may think. It was always ironmongery and ordinary utility objects. Not grand Gates, Railings, Iron staircases, Lanterns, Signs etc. just all the little things that make life work, such as latches, hinges something to keep the door open. Like his buildings they got the job done…. looking familiar and homely.

Blacksmith, Hand forged, Design, Ironwork, Forge, Wrought Ironwork, Hot Forged, Blacksmithing, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Lutyens, Ironmongery, D handle, Door furniture.

Lutyens cupboard handles

Large Ironwork projects weren’t his thing, I can only recall two sets of Iron gates, one in India and his Remembrance Gates, the latter is good, but a Baroque pastiche, not what you’d expect from an Arts & Crafts designer. There were some lanterns I think on Hampton Court bridge, Baroque again, but with all that Jean Tijou stuff next door I guess he felt obliged to show it some love. There are a few designs for garden gates floating about, I’ve seen a few in real life, I very much doubt they are Edwin Lutyens designed, despite the owners claims.

He didn’t do outrageous, challenging or I dare say thought provoking work, I’m not sure if that was ever the Edwardian way? He was a safe pair of hands, in a brave new world,  late nineteenth, early twentieth century was an exciting place for Great Britain, at that time everything was on the up and Britain was on top of the world. That is until WW1 (have you checked out our Warhorse article?), then the depression etc. but Lutyens soldiered on cutting his cloth to his starched suits. And he was prolific throughout. His success I believe was not  far sighted artistic vision or an ego as big as a giant,  gerkin (phallic, with nowhere to put your book shelf?). I think he genuinely wanted to embrace what we once had and still have, but make it better. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water mentality…….. and that’s one that I live by!

Blacksmith, Hand forged, Design, Ironwork, Forge, Wrought Ironwork, Hot Forged, Blacksmithing, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Lutyens, Ironmongery, D handle, Door furniture.

Lutyens hinges, Folly Farm, Berkshire.

Being a local man (he was born in Thursley, Surrey, you know!), Lutyens worked a lot in Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire and there’s a lot of residences that have his name on (and Gertrude Jeykll too). We have worked on and made Ironwork for many of them, either in our own name or for others. Folly Farm (Sulhamstead, Berks), Hascombe Court (Hascombe, Surrey), Goddards (Abinger, Surrey), Orchards (Bramley, Surrey), Sullingstead (Godalming, Surrey), Chinthurst Hill (Wonersh, Surrey) to name a few.

As a Blacksmith its great to reproduce Lutyens designs; they are honest and true, no tricks, just looking back to a time when things worked….. there was no space in the home, if they didn’t. I’m glad that Sir Edwin is getting some air time, because he was a great architect and designer, working hard for the client and giving the customer what they asked for, without burdening them with the nonsense that so often pools and boils about some of today’s Designer/Architectural types (some not all!)

There’s a smaller article on this site regarding Sir Edwin Lutyens Here’s the link! Enjoy.

Blacksmith, Hand forged, Design, Ironwork, Forge, Wrought Ironwork, Hot Forged, Blacksmithing, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Lutyens, Ironmongery, D handle, Door furniture.

Lutyens hinges and locking bar, BLF re-worked.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ironwork for the film.

Remember ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ films? I loved them! Well there’s a remake directed by Guy Ritchie coming very soon and we’ve made some bits for it!

All the bits you see in the photo are made out re-forged ‘scrap’ billets, the texture, colour and extra working gives the perfect character for primitive cell door ironmongery….. which its for! We knew this was what the designers wanted…. because the drawing showed us.

We made them for our usual designers; Julie makes our life really easy with her beautiful drawings, hand drawn and full size as they should be! The reason it makes it easy is because drawing by hand conveys texture, weight and character that CAD can’t…. long may they continue to do so.

Bread and Butter, Nuts and Bolts.

Hand forged Nuts & Bolts

Hand forged Nuts & Bolts

Writing on the last day of January it’s hard to believe Spring 2014 is seven weeks away!

Its been a very soggy start to the new year and nearly all our current work involves extensive site work (exterior), so we’re a bit behind as you can imagine. On the flip side the unplanned, ‘forced’ time in the Forge has been used productively to clean up, getting all those little repairs and ‘favour’ based work out of the way.

Fitting wagon axle staples.

Fitting wagon axle staples.

So, I spent Friday morning at the hearth, forging repair links to fix chains, making swivels for Heavy Horse harness and re-forging breaker points. As an apprentice and learning my trade this sort of work was tricky, but fun. In my middle years, with refined skills this was bread & butter work, reserved for Saturday mornings and was a tedious necessity, while I dreamed of artistic opportunities and great works. These days when a MacBook is my most useful business tool, the opportunity to do straightforward, old-fashioned Smiths work is to be relished and like riding a bike or playing a musical instrument (so I’m told), it all comes easily and is a total pleasure to revisit.

And so onward into the New Year and this year publicity is my goal; I realized a few years back that all the publicity and advertising I had undertaken in earlier years had paid off, having reliable, long term work to look forward to and a healthy client base. But traditional advertising and promotion has been overtaken by web based campaigns. To ignore this change is business suicide and I’ve been increasingly frustrated to witness less capable companies are getting opportunities purely on the basis they are shouting loader than the rest of us; now is the time to do something about it. I guess that’s a life lesson in general isn’t it, we all know of ‘loud’ companies/people and perhaps think of them first. However in most instances, there’s a far better, more reliable (quiet) businesses/person at the end of the road. Its a shame that its no one’s fault really except those quiet businesses if we don’t recall them; but if we do remember them and don’t give the chance for patronage, there’s a good chance (without a high street position) they might not be around for long. It’s sad that the term ‘use it or lose it’ is being repeated so often now!

With that philosophy & warning I advise  myself and others to shout as loud (or at least quite loud) as the loud ones via keyboard and Smart phone. Here, there, Twitter, everywhere, Instagram, Facebook and all the other emerging markets too. I personally have lots to show and tell. So starting as I mean to carry on, please check out the sidebars on this page and take a look at my Twitter and Instagram feeds and ‘Like’ me on Facebook, if you dare. ‘Follow too’ on any of these and the this website if the fancy takes you. It all adds up these days!

‘Les Miserables’

Shackles for Les Miserables 2012, close up.

Shackles for Les Miserables 2012, close up.

Missed this one! Well I did until today, I’ve just realised we made props for the award winning Les Miserables film and didn’t shout about our involvement, we were so busy in 2012 I totally forgot we had done our bit toward the film’s success.

Barricade Productions approached us regarding a particular scene where they needed a large quantity of authentic ‘slave’ shackles. We had worked with some of their production staff on other films, so were recommended as a safe pair of hands. I have a big problem with anything to do with the word ‘slave’. As a professional, 21st century Smith I don’t do restraint items, arms or weapons (including knives). Barricade were quick to clarify that this was the only description that fitted what they had in mind, the metalwork was to be used in a set dressing context. The production company  was hiring Pinewood Studio’s water tank set for the scene (a big deal apparently, James Bond movie’s use it a lot!)  and to boot it had Russell Crowe as the baddie ‘Javert’; he’s my wife’s favorite, so I had to take on the commission.

In the scene, Hugh Jackman’s ‘Jean Valijean’ lead charachter fights his way on to a dry land, weighed down by his chain restraints, having survived a landing from a stricken ship. Following are many ‘lost souls’ in a similar predicament. Twenty five sets of bindings/cuffs/shackles were needed for the professional actors. We had made some for the ITV series of ‘Sharp’ in the 90’s starring my favorite actor Sean Bean, so twenty + sets was no problem. As usual budget was a problem, but we managed to deliver accurate copies of the production companies historic sample.

Burrows Lea Forge’s blacksmiths turned round the order for 25 sets within 2 weeks of the order being placed and on budget. That’s pretty good as Movie work goes. Especially as we were making pieces for Walt Disney’s ‘Malificent’ at the same time.Thanks to Mick, his industrial Smithing expertise did us proud on this one (as he always does).

Les Miserables shackles 25No. exactly copying Baricade Production's original on right.

Les Miserables shackles 25No. copying exactly Barricade Production’s original on right.

Ironmongery for ‘Malificent’ film.

A selection of Ironmongery for ‘Malificent’

Late spring 2012 we were approached by Briar Rose Productions to make some set decorations and props for a Walt Disney Productions film titled Malificent (the wicked witch/Queen in Snow White) played by Angelina Joli, the film was directed by Robert Stromberg.
As usual we were approached because the production company wanted accurate, quality reproductions and interpretations of their designs, hand forged by Artisans and delivered in the time restraint that film production demands. Its a credit to Disney and Briar Rose that our traditional craftsman skills and authentic product we offer  are valued over fake or CGI decorations.
The picture above shows a small example of what we made hopefully you might see our small contribution in context when the film comes out in March 2012. Just in case you wish to commission copies of this ironwork…. you can’t, I’m afraid. We made these items exclusively for Disney, so you’ll have to talk to them first!
If you’re interested in this type of work, take a look in the ‘The Movies’ section of this website for more examples.

Warhorse Ironmongery

Warhorse Ironmongery

A small selection of forged ironmongery made for the Steven Speilberg’s film ‘Warhorse’

We were asked to make some specific set decorations for Steven Speilberg’s film Warhorse. Its the first time we’ve worked for one of his production companies and the experience was good. As usual, for films and documentaries our specific remit was authentic, detailed hot forged reproduction of existing  samples or images (they already employ plenty of ‘cut it & shut it’ fabricators etc). The picture show in a small sample of what we were asked to make, it is all forged in an open hearth (coke fire) and by hand as the samples and images were.

On a personal note (this is a blog page after all),  I find this type of work particularly interesting, its very rarely these days we get a genuine opportunity to make general rustic implements and utility items, obviously the Blacksmiths in the past would consider this work as humdrum and tedious, but a Forging Smith its real time-travel to our Blacksmithing past.

In the past we have made itms on various archaeological and historical series,  a few of Ridley Scott’s film’s including the most recent Robin Hood, ITV’s Sharp series, currently we’re making set items for the film of  ‘Les Miserables’ and we have just started the Disney film version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.


Luytens Handles and latches

Luytens handles and latches

Luytens handles and latches

These are Luytens reproduction handles we were asked to replicate by MD Joinery, Guildford. We make a lot of bespoke reproduction ironmongery. We specialise in Arts & Crafts styles in particular. Luytens, Henry Woodyer, Norman Shaw are some of the most common designers we are asked to copy.

Please excuse the cup I’ve used it an impromptu scale…. it is clean!