Cast iron grille replaced thanks to the Friends of LPC

29th August 2020
Leatherhead Parish Church

As we approached the completion of our Making History project, we noticed this broken Victorian cast iron grille by the High Altar

We hadn’t budgeted for any restoration work to the Upper Chancel as part of the Making History building project. So what did we decide to do?


health & safety hazard 

As well as being unsightly, we realised that the damaged grille represented a health and safety hazard. The Upper Chancel is set to form part of our new heritage trail, so we expect more people to visit this area. Therefore, we knew it had to be fixed, whether part of the Making History project or not.

But what was going to be the best way to repair it? And just as important, where was the additional funding going to come from?

Search for a new cast iron grille

John Andrews, our Making History project manager, was soon on the case. He found a local foundry, which could make a new casting. John was concerned that this might not look right, as there is wear and tear visible on the other grilles covering the old heating ducts.

Nick Bullet, owner of a local foundry, assured us that by using traditional craftsmanship, no difference between the old and new grating would be noticeable. His foundry has undertaken work for the Royal Palaces and the Royal Collection.

Fortunately, the replacement cast iron grille was not going to break the bank either. We are extremely grateful that The Friends of Leatherhead Parish Church agreed to fund the cost of this essential repair, which has now been completed.

The replacement grille significantly improves the visual impact of Blomfield’s original Victorian renovation, and is a marvellous addition to the Making History building project.

Keeping artisan skills alive

The replacement cast iron grille was made by F. Bullett & Company, which is the only foundry in Surrey and one of a handful of traditional foundries now left in the home counties. The foundry has been passed from father to son for three generations since 1946. With Nick’s son now working alongside him, it looks like the business will be in safe hands for a fourth generation and a time-honoured craft will not be lost.

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