New wrought iron gates for the High School Yard Steps in Edinburgh

We were commissioned to forge new wrought iron gate and railings for this fascinating project in Edinburgh. The High School Yard Steps were originally constructed in 1897 following an Urban Sanitary Improvement Scheme in 1893 which aimed to remove the most unsanitary housing from the city while respecting the historic character of the Old Town of Edinburgh. The stairs gave open access to the neighbouring flats which at the time, was considered to be more beneficial to health than the more typical closed stair blocks.

The refurbishment, which was funded by The City of Edinburgh Council, the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh World Heritage, has undergone a complete transformation and for the first time in 10 years, has been open for public access. In addition to the railings, We created a set of wrought iron gates to match the originals, complimenting the Scottish Baronial style typically used in this area.

Technically the design of the railings were challenging, the processes require a skilled eye to make sure each item is in alignment with the next. For example, the square holes in the horizontal rails are swelled out by punching the heated up bar with various sized chisels. Each hole has to align perfectly with the other rails to allow the bars to slide into place and each swelling to be the same size.

The stonework was repaired using red sandstone and lighting contractors were appointed to project the silhouettes of the public onto a large LED mesh screen as they climb the stairs. The movement is captured using an infrared camera and along with the exquisite ironwork, has brought the High School Yards staircase back to life.