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Architectural Metalwork

Case Studies - St Bartholomew the Great - Alter rail

Title: St Bartholomew the Great - Alter rail.
Client: St Bartholomew the Great.
Architect: Martin Ashley.
Type of works: Cast iron alter rail.


The main objective of this project was to manufacture and install a new alter rail to replace the existing Victorian rail. The new rail had to be both functional and be more in keeping with the style of the church. From the designs of Martin Ashley GFJ produced timber models then foundry patterns. Once cast in iron these sections where fabricated together incorporating a pair of double gates and timber handrail.

Due to the sensitive nature of the historic church, extreme care had to be exercised in the removal of the existing rail and the installation of the new. The hinge pins for the new gates required the anchor pins to be core drilled through the mosaic sanctuary floor to a depth of 500mm. As the holes progressed it was like going back through history, first the Victorian mosaic, then the medieval marble, finally into the mud of the sub base.

One of the most challenging aspects of the project was the paint detail required, with the use of several colours to accentuate the detail of the castings. Each colour was hand painted.

This is a good example of how GF James can work from an architect's design to realise a look or concept, working with both the client and designers to achieve the desired result. This is particularly true when working in such a sensitive environment and with a demanding client.