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In the Course Unit, Professor Aaron Scharf discusses the effects of new industrial techniques and materials on British design and standards of taste at the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and ...the role of the artist as social critic. In this accompanying television programme, Tim Benton, Lecturer in Art History, examines nineteenth century cast iron work as an art foraa which derives entirely from industrial processes. First he visits a snail iron foundry In East London which still produces castings by the methods of a hundred years ago, to explain the technique of iron casting; arid to denonstrate the useful qualities of cast products. Then he shows a number of the products which the Victorians cast from iron, including railings, fire-proof factory pillars and even complete buildings. One of these is the elegantly white-painted Palm House in Kew Gardens, London. He next considers cast iron churches, including two still- surviving in Liverpool and then looks at industrial buildings including the fruit and flower market at Covent Garden and Paddington Station. Cast iron was successful largely because exotic pieces of architectural decoration and other fittings could be ordered by catalogue and assembled many miles from the factory. As evidence we see cast iron buildings produced in Britain and built in Australia and India. But the greatest surviving monument to the skill of Victorian iron founders is the wealth of cast iron work still surviving at British seaside resorts. The programme ends with a film study of cast iron at Brighton, including the elaborate and famous West Pier.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 33
First transmission date: 06-10-1971
Published: 1971
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:50
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Producer: Edward Hayward
Contributor: Tim Benton
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Architecture; Cast iron; Crystal Palace; Gates; Kew; Paddington Station
Footage description: Foundry sequence showing making of sand mould, freezing moulding, metal pouring and removal of cast unit from mould. Tim Benton describes the essential qualities and advantages of cast iron and the consciously artistic uses to which it was put by the 19th century. Shots of Great-Stove at Kew, exterior and interior, with contemporary criticism over and also present day appraisal by Tim Benton. Photos and contemporary drawings of Great Exhibition Crystal Palace with contemporary criticism over (8'10"-9'20"); followed by shots of the modified Crystal Palace at Sydenham, before and during the fire which destroyed it (9'20"- 10'25") Tim Benton describes the use of cast iron as a decorative material and also its structural use in buildings of conventional design. Shot of Carlton House Conservatory, the churches, St Georges Everton (11'10"-11'36") St. Michaels in the Hamlet (11'36"-11'59") and drawings of a design for an iron church commissioned by the Ecclesiological Society. The decorative use of cast iron as exempified in Paddington Station (13'17"-14' 27") and the Floral Hall, Covent Garden (14'28"-16'01"). The use of cast iron in the Seamen's Home. Liverpool (16'20"-16'35") and the Corn Exchange, London (16'36"-17'19"). Tim Benton describes the use of cast iron for prefabricated structures, shots of kiosk in India and Villa at Geelong, Australia. Detailed shots of gates in the screen at Hyde Park Corner, and of gates separating Hyde park from Kensington Gardens. Tim Benton relates other uses to which cast iron was put. Shots of Enbankment lights and seats, pillar box. Detailed shots of bandstand and pier at Brighton.
Master spool number: 6LT/70116
Production number: 00520_1333
Videofinder number: 2445
Available to public: no