Victorian period in England lasted from the mid-1830s to the beginning
of the 20th century and was a time of great change, expansion
and social upheaval. Because of the rapid spread of mass-production
methods more and cheaper goods were available to buy by an ever
wider market. Also, the growing English middle class valued their
social status very highly and this was reflected in the design
and décor of their homes. New materials like cast iron
became very popular - it was the trendy material of its day. Manufactured
by pouring molten pig iron into a mould in casting sand, it seemed
that almost anything could be made by this dynamic new process.
Cast iron could be said to be one of the driving forces of Victorian
design and the Industrial Revolution.
An all-in-one cast iron combination fireplace in a highlighted
black finish with typical Victorian scrolled decoration
HERE TO SEE ENLARGED IMAGE
Cast iron is both heavy and durable and was widely used to manufacture
gates, fences, railings, chairs, benches, tables, urns and planters
- particularly as garden furniture - a trend that has seen a revival
in recent years. Hence the growth of a lively trade in antiques
and in reproductions of antique cast iron manufactured goods.
all began in Coalbrookdale, Ironbridge, when Abraham Darby arrived
from Bristol in the latter part of the 18th century to set up
one of the earliest industrial settlements; it became the first
'modern' ironworks, powered by water, coal and steam and fired
by Darby's great blast furnace. At one time, this little settlement
in Shropshire produced a quarter of all Britain's iron. It was
also here that Darby constructed the world's first all cast iron
bridge (hence, 'Ironbridge') now recognised as a World Heritage
Centre and a Mecca for students of the Industrial Revolution.
distinctive feature of the Victorian house would be its cast iron
fireplaces. Often ornate and ostentatious, frequently little more
than imitations and reproductions of earlier period styles, they
were the centrepieces of the domestic setting. Most surviving
Victorian houses still boast one or two, especially in bedrooms,
where the Combination
Fireplace, an all-in-one piece, was favourite. Every known
style, from the Gothic to Rococo period was revived, in new and
ever more unusual combinations - sometimes a hotchpotch of many
styles in one piece.
An ornate Tiled Insert Fireplace in typical Victorian cast
iron styling - shown here with a pine mantel and slabbed
HERE TO SEE ENLARGED IMAGE
were especially popular for floor areas in halls and kitchens,
and decorative refractory tiles, or tube-lined tiles, were often
inset into cast iron fireplaces or in hearths.
Victorian tiles were usually very highly patterned, and William
Morris was probably one if its greatest exponents, his decorative
arts prompting the beginning of what came to be known as the English
Arts & Crafts Movement - a style now much sought after.
Ever more eager to discover the latest styles and fashions, the
Victorians pored over the many new 'lifestyle' magazines in which
the very latest and modern household goods were illustrated. They
also flocked to the numerous interior design and manufactured
design exhibitions that seemed to abound at that time. The Great
Exhibition of 1851 at Paxton's Crystal Palace in Hyde Park was
especially popular and was a major showcase for contemporary design
of the period, which heralded a new age in British design.
to the present day. It is with great pride and pleasure that we
at CastIronFires introduce our range of quality reproduction Victorian
cast iron fireplaces and stoves
to a wider public. The attention to accurate detailing in our
insert and tiled
insert fireplaces is impressive and has to be seen to be believed
- we strongly recommend you look at some of our large format images
of examples in our online Gallery.
Our range is extensive so that we feel that we can offer a choice
to suit virtually everybody's taste and pocket. They hark back
to a day when cast iron was the choice of the day - material that
is rapidly re-emerging as the choice for modern and period interiors.
We also offer a range of hearth tiles and inset tiled panels,
including transfer printed and tube-lined
in a variety of styles including several original Morris prints.
We are confident that once you have shopped with us at CastIronFires,
you simply won't bother to go elsewhere!