Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Conservation of metals

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



Our Advanced Diploma prospectus contains information about all our short courses:

Download our prospectus


10 weeks


8 January - 18 March 2020

Study time

Taught:10 days


As a stand-alone short course:£840


Looking for a related qualification? Learn about our Accredited Diploma that can be taken part-time or full time.

Explore Diploma course
Metal gates on top of a unit in a factory


Gain a historic overview of metals in the built environment. Explore innovations from the medieval period to the 20th century, including early innovations in iron production at Carron, and the architectural use of bronze and brass.

What you will learn

In this course, you will:

  • learn about the cultural significance of metals and examine the fundamental characteristics and physical properties of ferrous and non-ferrous metals
  • get a better understanding of metallurgical and corrosion processes
  • learn how to carry out archival research in order to identify original foundry sources and accurate pattern reproductions when necessary

You'll also gain a solid understanding about current conservation principles and how to undertake appropriate repairs, from an initial survey, through to specification, procurement and on-site repair of existing or installation of new material.

With our experts, everything you learn will be according to best current principles of best conservation practice.

Topics covered

  • Use of metals in Scotland
  • Scottish industrialisation
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Metallurgy
  • Properties and characteristics
  • Decay and failure mechanisms
  • Repair, conservation techniques
  • Maintenance
  • Health and safety

Course content

Short courses offer the opportunity to learn about building conservation through lectures, workshops and site visits.

Classes, lectures and presentations

Students benefit from attending classes and lectures taught by national and international experts. Forthcoming lectures are to be confirmed.

Previous speakers have included:

  • Professor John R. Hume
  • Jim Mitchell (Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd.)
  • David Mitchell, Director of Conservation (Historic Environment Scotland)
  • Ali Davey, Project Manager (Historic Environment Scotland)
  • Gordon Urquhart, Postgraduate Course Manager (Historic Environment Scotland)

Potential site visits

Students have the opportunity to participate in site visits. These vary from one year to another.

Previous site visits for this course have included:


Although our short courses are not formally assessed, students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course.

A formal qualification can be obtained by studying our Advanced Professional Diploma on Technical Building Conservation.

What our students say