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Cultural Concubine Blog

Neither here nor there…

Dutch respect...

During my course on Historic Metal work I had a most wonderful time in the forge. I was very happy to meet the blacksmith in residence, Mr. Peter Parkinson. (his own website). He was very enthusiastic to meet an odd Dutch girl (who was accidentally rather useless at wielding hammers on the anvil). He told me how he had met and worked with a Dutch blacksmith many years ago, who had introduced him to the iron work of the “Amsterdamse School”. The Dutch blacksmith had given him an old article in Dutch explaining all the different types of bannisters on the bridges of Amsterdam.

Ripples on and under the bridge...

I was happy to translate the 20 odd pages for him, even if I struggled somewhat to come to terms with the forges’ formulations. It opened up a whole new world of curls and arches on the bridges of our capital.
It is funny how you can be blind to your own national treasures…
Dutch rudely park their bicycles against the intricately wrought curls and ripples.
So it was funny to get a new insight into this exceptional work. The article explained how well made these bannisters actually are, so exquisitely so that modern day blacksmiths would have trouble to copy them. I fear this will get harder over the years… as more and more ancient skills fall by the wayside.

The wrought iron bridges were actually hand forged around 1916-19, during WWI.
It shows an interesting rebellious fashion in iron work, countering the English cast iron hegemony. It is funny how ironwork fashion can be so different between two countries.

Anyway, I will be sure to pay attention next time I lock my bicycle!

(note to self: Freddie, do try to exercise those arms, it is worth improving your hammering skills.)

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