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Hot dip galvanized sycamores invite people into new Kent housing development

Created by artist Steve Tomlinson

A public art display has been unveiled at a new housing development near Maidstone in Kent.

Situated on the borders of the village of Bearsted, the art installation celebrates new communities, as well as the social, architectural and historical, aspects of the site and nearby villages.

Standing 2.4m tall, the sculpture was made from hot dip galvanized steel by metal artist Steve Tomlinson.

This was the perfect project for Steve, whose works are often inspired by the natural world.

Dandara (the independent house builder behind the development) said: “The striking new piece of art has been positioned at the entrance to the development, where it can be admired by everyone passing in and out of the estate, as well as being studied at close range by people waiting at the adjacent bus stop.

Premier Galvanizing Hull was honoured to hot dip galvanize the sculpture for the artist.

(Photos by Steve Tomlinson)

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Sustainability specification complements NSSS

The British Constructional Steelwork Association has recently published the first edition of their sustainability specification for structural steelwork. Titled the ‘National structural steelwork specification for building construction’, it includes guidance on both the sustainable design and sustainable fabrication of structural steelwork. For example information about the relevant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) that need to be submitted for new steel products, steel procurement, project specifications requirements for sustainability, and guidance on reusing steel.

The publication is free to download from the BCSA website.

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The importance of trust when choosing a galvanizer.

When the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust wanted to commemorate the Slimbridge 75 Project, they turned to Ian Gill – award-winning contemporary metal artist, and blacksmith – to create a sculpture. ‘Nest’ was built and installed on the A38 Slimbridge roundabout in October 2021. Because it was a long project due to planning and the pandemic, Ian needed to ensure the final stage – hot dip galvanizing – was in safe hands. He chose Premier Galvanizing.

The Wildfowl and Wetland’s Trust (WWT) was created by Sir Peter Scott in 1946, as a place of conservation, and science. The Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire was the first of nine sites for the WWT, and 75 years on, the attraction receives over 250,000 visitors a year and helps protect birds, and their wetland habitats.

To commemorate the 75th birthday of the first site, the WWT wanted a sculpture on the A38 Slimbridge roundabout, that people would see as they enter the wetlands.

With funding from Moto in the Community and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the WWT set a competition for school pupils from Slimbridge Primary School to design a sculpture that symbolised what the Wetlands Centre meant to them. The winning design, submitted by an 11-year old pupil, incorporated a blend of natural wetland habitats, insects and bird species spotted at Slimbridge.

Award-winning sculptor, Ian Gill, was tasked with bringing the sculpture to life in his studio in Lincolnshire.

With its intricate design of reeds, wildlife and Lilly pads, plus over 3500kg of steel, it took Ian 14 months to forge the steel.

It’s not just wildlife protection

When steel is used in outdoor art or construction, it needs to be protected from the environment, to ensure longevity. A hot dip galvanized coating is the perfect finish, as it provides a beautiful silver shine and protects the steel from rust.

When working on ‘Nest’, Ian had only just moved from Essex to Lincolnshire and even though he had been pleased with his previous galvanizer, he wanted a company closer to his new location. So he met with Premier Galvanizing in early 2020 and learnt about our expertise in galvanizing steel for intricate works of art.

Entrusting work to a new galvanizer can be a daunting prospect. Especially when galvanization is the final stage of a project that has taken over a year to fabricate. In the hands of the wrong galvanizer, a project can be ruined in minutes. But Premier Galvanizing allayed Ian’s concerns.  We invited him to watch how the steel was carefully loaded onto the trucks at his studio and welcomed him to the plant to see how the steel would be unloaded and dipped into the zinc bath for the galvanizing process.

Ian was impressed, stating that “The communication level and quality of work from Premier Galvanizing is second to none.”

Ian has since used Premier Galvanizing for several sculptures, including ‘The Singing Waterlilly’, a signature piece of art for Raymond Blanc’s pop-up restaurant in Chelsea in 2021.

Here’s to the next 75 years

The WWT grew in strength over the years, and now has nine sites across the UK, welcoming over a million visitors every year.

When ‘Nest’ was installed, Moto in the Community Chair Louise Hughes said: “We’re so excited [about] this beautiful sculpture… Everyone at Moto in the Community is so pleased that WWT will now have this local landmark to signpost Slimbridge as the home of conservation as we know it today.

Alongside the work and projects that Moto in the Community has supported at WWT Slimbridge itself, we’re delighted that this sculpture can help showcase WWT’s 75th anniversary celebrations to the local community and beyond.”

Ian said “With our biodiversity in decline, ‘Nest’ is a constant reminder that without nurture and change, this is what we could lose.

The sculpture depicts an infinity of lily pads, with a whole range of wildfowl and birds living amongst it, creating its sanctuary. Raising awareness and reminding us how beautiful nature is around us and why we need to protect it.”

Andrew Tweddle, Premier Galvanizing Hull said: “We’ve been proud to showcase to Ian the quality of work and customer service we provide when hot dip galvanizing steel and we look forward to working with him on many projects in the future.

It’s also been an honour to hot dip galvanize ‘Nest’ for the WWT and the visitors to Slimbridge. Here’s to the next 75 years for the WWT, and we hope the sculpture is enjoyed for many years to come.”

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To read more about Ian Gill’s work, visit his website at www.iangillsculpture.com, or follow him on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. (See links on his site.) You can see Ian’s work all over the UK. His work can also be seen in Palm Springs, Mumbai and the Czech Republic. He also exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show every year.

To read more about the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, visit their website at www.wwt.org.uk. You can also read about their founder – Sir Peter Scott, who, interestingly was the son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott.

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Whitby, UK

Whitby is a seaside town on the North Yorkshire coast. Full of maritime, mineral and tourist heritage, it is a popular destination for visitors all year round. To celebrate the town’s fishing and cultural heritage, and to encourage visitors to explore its streets, a group of local people and partner organisations recently commissioned a new art project: the Whitby Walk with Heritage Trail. Emma Stothard was the appointed artist, and Premier Galvanizing protected the steel.

The Whitby Walk with Heritage Trail – funded by the Government’s Coastal Revival Fund and Scarborough Council – is a series of stunning sculptures dotted around the town telling the story of Whitby’s fishing and cultural history. The sculptures start at the Whitby Swing Bridge and end at the Band Stand leading people through some of the lesser frequented areas of Whitby to try to support local businesses in those areas.

The sculptures include a fisherman mending a net, a fisher wife, a knitter at work on a gansey, a herring lass and a crow’s nest.

There are also sculptures which pay homage to two of Whitby’s famous residents: photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, and Dora Walker, a North Sea skipper during WW2.

Emma Stothard, a renowned North Yorkshire sculptor, created the sculptures from wire steel. Because the sculptures need to stand the test of time and withstand the harsh environmental conditions of a coastal town, Emma sent the sculptures to Premier Galvanizing Hull so that they could be hot dip galvanized.

You can see photos of some of the sculptures at the Premier Galvanizing plant here:

Whitby Walk Heritage Sculptures by Emma Stothard Hot Dip Galvanized by Premier Galvanizing

Hot dip galvanizing is important for steel because it provides a long-life, low-maintenance corrosion protection which safeguards steel from atmospheric attack which causes rust.

Even though we regularly protect the steel used for sculptural works of art and we’re experienced in handling unusual pieces of steel, Emma’s project was a challenge at first because of its size and shape. It was a test we overcame however, as Emma came to the plant and worked alongside Karl – our Works Manager – to ensure the sculptures were suitable for the hot dip galvanizing process.

Proud Yorkshire people

As a Yorkshire based galvanizing plant we were pleased to be chosen as the galvanizer for this project. It was a privilege to work with Emma, and to play our part in celebrating the culture and history of Whitby.

Whitby Walk Heritage Sculptures by Emma Stothard Hot Dip Galvanized by Premier Galvanizing

Further reading:

To find out more about Emma Stothard, visit her website or follow her on Instagram.

Emma has spent most of her adult life living and working in Whitby, and her works can be found across towns and stately homes worldwide. Emma also frequently exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show.

If you’re planning on a visit to Whitby and you’d like to know more about the heritage trail, follow the Facebook page Walk with Heritage. The page shows photos of Emma’s progress as she built the sculptures. It also shows the sculptures in their final place in Whitby.

Work is also being carried out to create an app to support the trail. When people follow the walk, they will be able to see information about their location and each statue’s/character’s story.

(Whitby photo by Stephen Ingham on Unsplash)

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Stunning animal sculptures fabricated from horseshoes by Tom Hill, and hot dip galvanized by Premier Galvanizing Corby.

In February 2020, Premier Galvanizing Corby were asked to treat a range of unique and stunning animal sculptures fabricated by artist Tom Hill. Everything from a stag, a doe, a horse and a hare. Most of the animals were commissioned by the owners of a soon-to-be-launched wedding venue in Devon, set on farmland.

Based in Hertfordshire, Tom is an unusual artist as he sculpts with recycled horseshoes to create life size animal works of art.

Tom specialises in equine sculpture but also sells hedgehogs, squirrels, ducks, herons, swans, pigs, badgers, different breeds of dogs, lions, cheetahs, stags, camels and elephants, all of which are life size. You can see more of these on his website.

As a self-taught sculptor, Tom utilises a gas forge and hammer as well as various welding techniques to heat and shape the horseshoes to craft his projects. 

Once he has built his sculptures, he needs to ensure their longevity by having the steel treated with a galvanised finish – a service provided by Premier Galvanizing.

Hot dip galvanizing is important for steel because it provides a long-life, low-maintenance corrosion protection which safeguards steel from atmospheric attack.

Premier Galvanizing Corby has treated many projects for Tom over the last few years. Another notable project was a sculpture of a horse and jockey for the Injured Jockey’s Centre which opened in Newmarket in October 2019. Tom books Premier Galvanizing Corby due to our location, excellent reputation and bath size. We are also able to collect the projects, galvanize them, and deliver them back to Tom, taking away all the transportation logistics.

We enjoy working on Tom’s fabrications. It’s especially great to see them arrive at our Corby plant as untreated steel, watch as they are carefully dipped into the baths of zinc, and then be amazed as they emerge with a new silver zinc coating.

Bryony Crowden from Premier Galvanizing Corby said, “We have really enjoyed working alongside Tom, and we can’t wait to see what future works come into the plant from him’.

We look forward to receiving your next projects Tom!

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If you can make it – we can galvanise it!

For the last two years, Godbold Blacksmiths has been exclusively sending projects to Premier Galvanizing for steel finishing.

Our Hull plant has been the lucky recipient and it’s been an honour and a privilege to protect the steel produced by this amazing team of artists and makers.

About Godbold Blacksmiths Limited

Godbold Blacksmiths was set up in 1985 by James Godbold. Based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, it began with a few commissions and grew from there.

Fast forward 36 years and the Blacksmiths has a large workshop employing nine people, trained in both traditional skills and modern techniques.

The Company now produces everything from gates, railings, candlesticks, staircases, signs and sculptures – pieces which have often been inspired by the local scenery: the Yorkshire Moors and the rugged coastline. Hear more about this from James himself.

Hot dip galvanizing

As Godbold’s works with iron and steel, and metals need to be protected from the elements (to prevent against rust and corrosion), the Company sends their projects to Premier Galvanizing Hull for hot dip galvanizing.

Hot dip galvanizing is important because it provides a long-life, low-maintenance corrosion protection which safeguards steel from atmospheric attack.

Works of art

Over the last couple of years, the team at Hull have been proud to hot dip galvanize sculptures, gates, railings, benches and even door handles on behalf of Godbold’s. We also treated the steel for the now famous Godbold Fin the Fish sculpture, which was used as an environmental awareness campaign by Yorkshire Water, Scarborough Council and the University of Hull in 2019.

Long may this partnership continue.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects we have worked on:

‘If you can draw it – we can make it’

When Godbold Blacksmiths receives a commission from a new customer, no job is too big or too small. In fact, their motto is ‘If you can draw it – we can make it’.

Because we are proud to hot dip galvanize for this talented team, our response is: ‘If you can make it – we can galvanize it.’

Find out more:

To find out more about Godbold Blacksmiths, visit their website or view their social profiles (Instagram and facebook).

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And hot dip galvanized garden sculptures

Two years ago, one of our clients – Kurt Lightfoot – received an unusual birthday present from his wife: an artist’s metalwork course. Kurt completed the course and became hooked, and two years on now runs his own steel metalcraft business called Orna-Metal UK.

Orna-Metal UK – based in Peterborough – specialises in quality handmade garden features, household decorative ornaments and bespoke sculptures for independent retailers and private customers. Every item is unique using traditional methods and skills.

Drawing on inspiration from the ‘Arts and Craft’ movement of the late 19th century, which rebelled against poor quality mass production, Kurt creates works of arts which reflect the organic beauty of nature.

One such work of art is Dennis the Dragonfly!

To grow his business, Kurt spent time exhibiting at craft shows and wanted a statement piece to attract attention. He decided to sculpt a magnificent dragonfly, and Dennis was born!

After taking Dennis to two shows, a customer approached Kurt with an offer to buy. However, the customer wasn’t keen on the weathered look, and wanted the dragonfly to be shiny and silver so that he would stand out on the island on a lake, where it’s now installed.

Hot dip galvanizing was the answer and Kurt booked Premier Galvanizing to manage the finish.

Premier Galvanizing was the perfect option as the galvanizing baths could accommodate the large size of Dennis.

The team at Premier Galvanizing Corby rose to the challenge and treated the dragonfly with a protective galvanized finish that will last for many years to come.

Kurt was very pleased with the finish and has since sent some additional sculptures to Premier Galvanizing Corby. Below are some cala lillies, which were hot dip galvanized in late Summer/early Autumn.

It’s a pleasure to work on such impressive works of art and we look forward to a growing relationship with Kurt and Orna-Metal UK.

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In 2019 a project was underway to add a new canopy roof to the Ken Rosewall Arena in Australia. Macalloy was engaged to provide the steel tension rods. And Premier Galvanizing was engaged by Macalloy for hot dip galvanizing.

The Ken Rosewall Arena was originally built at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre for the 2000 Olympic Games. With seating for 10,500 people it has proved a popular venue for tennis fans ever since.

In 2019 it was redeveloped to become a multi-purpose indoor arena, and it is now also the home of netball in New South Wales.

As part of the redevelopment it changed from being an open arena to a semi-enclosed all-weather venue. A significant structural engineering undertaking!

The project – designed by Cox Architecture, in conjunction with Arup – required steel tension rods for the canopy, with steel cables forming the shape of the roof and providing support. Due to the scale of the project and the size of tension rods required, Macalloy was chosen to provide the rods.

Even though Macalloy are based in the UK, and the project was on the other side of the world, they were the perfect company as they’re the only fabricator in the world who can provide such large tension rods.

Because the rods are made from steel, and steel corrodes and rusts if left untreated, Macalloy engaged Premier Galvanizing Hull to hot dip galvanize the metal.

We were not the first galvanizer to start the job though. Macalloy had previously engaged another galvanizer who provided inadequate design advice for hot dip galvanizing, and the job started to fall behind schedule.

For galvanizing to work, it’s important for galvanizers to talk to individual fabricators and impart advice on how to prepare steel for galvanizing. For example, to achieve the best quality zinc coating, it is crucial to ensure that molten zinc can flow freely over all surfaces, external and internal. So, where there are sealed hollow sections or cavities, vent and drain holes are essential.

Macalloy called Premier Galvanizing to see if we could help with their job and get the project back on track, and Andrew Tweddle (Commercial Manager at Premier Galvanizing Hull) drove to Dinnington in South Yorkshire to look at the steel rods and suggest some improvements.

Macalloy were happy for us to hot dip galvanize a trial batch. Pleased with the results, they engaged us to complete the whole job.

In total we hot dip galvanized 204 tension rods, with the largest weighing in at about 600 kilos each, with some reaching almost 10 metres in length. It was a huge job… almost 50 tonnes of steel.

We were also pleased to help Macalloy with some of the project logistics by collecting the steel with our fleet of Premier Galvanizing trucks and delivering it back to Dinnington once we’d completed our part of the job.

Working with Macalloy has been a pleasure, and hopefully the start of a good working relationship. We spent a good few weeks hot dip galvanizing the steel and we were proud of our efforts and our ability to provide sound technical advice. We were also proud to help Macalloy get the project back on track – in fact our hard work helped them to get eight weeks ahead of schedule.

The new roof for the Ken Rosewall Arena was finished by Cox Architecture and Arup in December 2019, just in time for the ATP Cup in January 2020. We hope it continues to be a great home for tennis and netball in the coming years.

You can read more about the project here.

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steel railings galvanized for the Dragon Heart's Hospital in Cardiff

In the run-up to the COVID-19 lockdown, it was a tricky time for all businesses making decisions about whether or not to keep operating and having to drastically change ways of working. 

At Premier Galvanizing we made the decision early to maintain operations at both of our plants as we have an important role to play in the supply chain of essential service companies – from infrastructure to food manufacturing, security and healthcare.

Some of the things we have been most proud to hot dip galvanize in the last month include steel products for the NHS. We’ve been galvanizing clinical waste bins and trucks, crash trolleys, steelwork for the temporary Nightingale Hospitals, and sadly a temporary morgue. 

The above pictures show some of the steel railings we galvanized for the Dragon Heart’s Hospital in Cardiff on behalf of fabricators W Hare Ltd, as well as steel for an emergency extension to an oxygen tank facility at St. Thomas’s Hospital in London on behalf of SWF Ltd. (More photos can be seen in our Photo Gallery.)

Whilst the safety of our team members and customers is always our top priority (see our news story), we’re glad to be continuing with operations, enabling us to support essential services, and hopefully do our bit to keep the economy going.

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Galvanised fish sculpture commissioned by Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull.

Meet Fin the Fish, a magnificent sculpture commissioned by Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull to showcase the growing problem of plastic pollution in our seas.

Built by Godbold Blacksmiths Ltd and hot dip galvanized by Premier Galvanizing Hull, Fin the Fish acts as a receptacle for used plastic and is part of the ‘Do your bit’ campaign which encourages people to recycle plastic, reduce plastic use, and consequently make small efforts to look after the environment.

Originally installed at Scarborough’s South Bay last Summer to entice beach goers to clean up the beach, Fin is now spending his winter months at The Deep in Hull.

Fin’s Summer months proved successful. In just eight weeks, the public fed him over 6000 plastic bottles, which Scarborough Council recycled. The sheer number of bottles highlighted just how much plastic is used on a daily basis and encouraged people to think about how widespread plastic pollution is, and how much damage it causes to our marine ecosystem.

Yorkshire Water and the University of Hull are hoping Fin will have the same effect on the residents of Hull. To measure the success, local firm Biffa will record how much plastic is fed to Fin on a weekly basis, emphasising just how much plastic could have instead (possibly) entered the water courses.

As reported in an article by Yorkshirewater.com: “The University of Hull Energy and Environment Institute is researching solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges facing the world today, from climate change and plastics to flooding and renewable energy.

Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the Institute, said: “The world has woken up to the critical issue of plastic pollution in our oceans, which is a growing challenge and is having devastating consequences for marine environments both globally and off our Yorkshire coastline.”

Fin the Fish was fabricated from steel, is 5m long and weighs 700kg.

To protect the sculpture from the elements and prevent it from rusting – especially in harsh coastal environments – it was sent to Premier Galvanizing Hull for a protective hot dip galvanized finish.

Andrew Tweddle, Commercial Manager at Premier Galvanizing said: “The environment and sustainability is important to Premier Galvanizing and we try to introduce more innovative and environmentally friendly processes at our plants on a daily basis. Because of this, it was an honour to be asked to protect the steel for Fin the Fish.”

Alex Camp, Divisional Manager at Premier Galvanizing Hull said: “We visited Fin when he was first installed at Scarborough in the Summer. It’s quite nice to see him back in Hull though for the Winter months. He has already proved popular with the locals and we’re keen to see what the final plastic count will be when he moves location in April. We hope Fin the Fish makes a difference – no matter how small – in changing the way people think about protecting the environment.”

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