Famous metal garden gates and iron garden gates
These days, fine examples of the most beautifully formed wrought iron metal gates from the Victorian era can still be seen on historic and grand buildings and landscapes across London, the UK and across the world.
Some of the most beautiful examples include, of course, the exquisite double metal gate and railings that protect what is probably the most famous house in the country – Buckingham Palace. Designed by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts the metal gates were commissioned in 1905. Others in London include the striking Grade II Listed ‘Victoria’ metal gates at Kew, as well as the beautifully ornamental, wrought iron gate at Kensington Palace, once home to the late Princess Diana but now inhabited by her son HRH Prince William, his wife Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
Arguably, in many of the grandest and most stately of buildings, a beautiful, ornate wrought iron metal gate is often accompanied by the wrought iron window frame, holding together stunning and historic stained-glass windows. Beautiful examples of these can be found in some of the UK’s most majestic cathedrals such as Canterbury and York and, of course until recently, the medieval Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
There can be little debate that the beauty of many such majestic metal gates, railings and windows demonstrates the incredible malleability, longevity and desirability of wrought iron.
Opening the metal garden gates of history
Too many centuries ago to count, the Bronze Age was overtaken by the Iron Age. The reason being that iron was malleable enough when incredibly hot to create fantastically strong, early tools and heavy, hand-held weapons. Early Greek armies made great use of iron swords and, by the 5th century BCE, iron had eradicated the use of bronze swords across Europe.
Subsequently, grand, medieval buildings sprang up throughout the continent using iron for structure, security and decor. Iron was also a fantastic metal for manufacture of durable cooking and kitchen appliances, door furniture and heavy, solid locks and it was in great demand.
Wrought Iron was first created out of a mix of natural components using the ‘Pudding Process’, which was invented by Victorian industrialist Henry Cort in 1784. It involved the transformation of iron into wrought iron by heating and agitating the metal in a furnace with reactive elements.
In addition, wrought iron did not rust and was easy to paint. This was much to the delight of those middle-class and wealthy Victorians who discovered they could transform its standard grey colour into beautiful greens to give invisibility to the metal garden gate and railings. They could also use ‘stone’ colours to blend in with surrounding structures.
Wrought iron is so named because ‘wrought’ is the archaic word for ‘worked’. It’s wrought iron’s acquiescence, its ability to be bent and shaped as opposed to cast iron’s fragility, that made wrought iron the world’s favourite malleable metal for many generations.
As a result, wrought iron was fabricated in substantial amounts across the world and has remained a familiar and, until recently, a necessary feature of everyday life, including in the creation of the wrought metal garden gates and railings for security, decoration and practicality.
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