Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Conservation of ferrous metals

Explore the main issues associated with the manufacture and use of ferrous metals in Scotland’s built environment, from wrought and cast iron technology, to corrugated iron sheeting and steel.



Download a prospectus for more information on the diploma and short courses.

Temp prospectus link

Study time

Taught:40.5 hours

Self-study:33 hours


As a stand-alone short course:£585

Conservation work being done on a bronze wall

Gain a historic overview of ferrous metals in the built environment on this short course. From early innovations in iron production at Coalbrookdale, to the changes facing the industry during the 20th century and today.

What you'll learn

Learn current conservation repair principles and how to undertake appropriate repairs, including:

  • initial survey and documentation
  • assessment of fabric condition
  • diagnosis of the causes of defects
  • deterioration or mechanical failure
  • specification
  • procurement
  • on-site repair of existing or installation of new material

You'll also examine the fundamental characteristics and physical properties of architectural iron and steel, especially in regard to corrosion processes.

Finally, you'll learn how to carry out archival research in order to identify original foundry sources and accurate pattern reproductions when necessary.

Topics covered

  • Metallurgy
  • Scottish industrialisation
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Properties and characteristics
  • Decay and failure mechanisms
  • Repair and conservation techniques
  • Maintenance
  • Health and safety.

Course content

Hands-on workshop/lab activities

Pattern-making, or green-sand moulding at foundry; blacksmithing at forge; nick/bend tests; microscopy analysis of metal samples etc.

Potential site visits

Become better acquainted with the wide range of materials used to construct and finish traditional buildings in Scotland through the six modules in this unit.


Short courses are not formally assessed. Students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course. Anyone looking for a formal qualification can study our full diploma course or separate units.

What our students say