From history to heritage : using a company's past to guide its future

Electronic versions


  • Pamela Smith


The journey from history to heritage is explored through the history of the Brunswick Ironworks of Caernarfon Gwynedd which is presented as an ethnographic case study. Brunswick Ironworks are a family business which has been located in the town of Caernarfon for over one hundred years. It has contributed significantly to the visual appearance of the town through its work as art metal blacksmiths. The ethnographic study is based on the history of the Brunswick Ironworks supported by the materials generated from Irish case studies which assisted in the creation of the Brunswick heritage trail (one of the outcomes of the research project). The history of the company was researched from 1906-2010 using documents held by the company charting their development as art metal blacksmiths. The company has worked on key commissions ranging from work in the Royal Palaces of (Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle) to the ironwork for the coffin of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey. The heritage debate is discussed by charting the journey from history to heritage as illustrated through the history of the Brunswick Ironworks. The current debate on heritage was discussed revealing that heritage in the case of the Brunswick project was a process developed to suit the requirements of the research project. The project revealed that through the creative use of one specific aspect of the Brunswick Ironworks heritage (the Unknown Warrior) the profile of the company was used to guide its future development through the utilisation of their skills as art metal blacksmiths in the twenty first century. The research project was a journey which revealed new aspects of the heritage of the Brunswick Ironworks as the project developed and evolved. The creation of the six objectives for the Brunswick Ironworks emerged following detailed discussions between the owner Mr Meurig Williams and the researcher. These objectives assisted in the identification of a structure for the project. As the project developed and evolved a transferable model emerged which could be utilised by other researchers providing a template from which to begin their journey. The six objectives identified for the project were ambitious and required the acquisition of new skills for the researcher. These ranged from learning how to catalogue the Brunswick archive to improving and developing photographic skills which were used to record the work of the company resulting in the creation of a photographic archive. The outcomes from the research project indicated that when heritage is viewed as a process it encourages connections to be made which in the case of the Brunswick project were enriched by the active sharing of their heritage. This supported other locations which were able to develop their link with the Unknown Warrior. This in turn raised the profile of the company on a national level which brought their skills as art metal blacksmiths to a wider market illustrating how the past heritage of the company was developed to guide its future development.


Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad dyfarnu
Goruchwylydd / Goruchwylwyr / Cynghorydd
Dyddiad dyfarnu4 Meh 2013