Chapter 1.

1.2 The Aims of this Dissertation.

In the compilation of this dissertation the following aims have been pursued.

To highlight the importance of historic ironwork repairs to timber-framed buildings and to develop and promote a greater understanding of a phenomenon which, having an historical dimension, is intrinsically interesting and has seldom received detailed attention.

To highlight the potential to provide a structural commentary on the integrity of timber frames of different dates and forms by studying their ironwork repair systems and thus to broaden our understanding of timber-framed buildings generally.

To provide a steer towards the value of ironwork repairs as a dating criteria. This is interesting where they help to date a structural failure, but much more important (in conventional architectural and archaeological terms) where they help to date a significant phase of alteration, addition or truncation. This can also help to establish which repairs are historically significant (and may therefore have conservation merit) and which are not.

To investigate the historical production of iron in this country, its importation and thus its ease of availability, form and quality such that these criteria may be applied to dating the ironwork repairs and their fittings.

To investigate the history and evolution of the manufacturing industries involved in producing the fittings, particularly that of the nail and later the screw. These are particularly well-documented industries which could provide a sound basis for component chronology thus helping to phase the ironwork repairs.

To develop, by fieldwork, a comprehensive gazetteer of repair components and illustrate their common use. Also, to provide a glossary of relevant terms to be used in the study and classification of these components.

To illustrate the common features encountered in the form of the ironwork components and to try to identify these features, created in the forge, with their period of historical production.

To help develop guidance for the future repair of timber-framed buildings using similar incremental, or 'minimum intervention' techniques, which suit modern conservation philosophy because they ensure the maximum retention of historic fabric. This could include the replacement, like-for-like, of failed repairs or the provision of new fittings based on the design of the originals. It should always be held in mind that ironwork repairs seldom fail and if they do so they can be reworked in the fire and brought back to life as good as new.

Finally it should be stated that this dissertation deals only with ironwork repairs to timber framed buildings and not with new build incorporating iron components. Whilst clearly inter-related they are two separate subjects.

1.3 Field Work

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