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King Kong Terrorises the West Felton Carnival….

west felton carnival

The West Felton Carnival is a fabulous event held annually, bringing together local people of the area for a wonderful, fun filled day out. This year the team at The British Ironwork Centre were delighted to take part with a float like no other. Painstaking hours were spent on the organisation and decoration of this entirely unique creation. Adorned with cargo nets and our very own collection of safari animals, simply every detail had been taken care of.

The float was equipped with a sound system and music befitting of this fearsome beast and on the glorious Sunday morning King Kong was let loose. The carnival was launched with the charming tradition of the King and Queen of the fete, followed diligently by their attendants.

With King and Queen leading the grand procession of hand crafted floats, the day was filled with a real sense of community spirit. A parade of brightly coloured and enchantingly decorative floats proceeded through the village, entertaining visitors of all ages, hoping to win. The British Ironwork Centre came in second place, we were so pleased to even place with this being our first year at the carnival, everyone at the Centre was over the moon.

It was a fantastic day for everyone involved celebrating the talents and accomplishments of our area.

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Derwen Rhino has pride of place “Collosus”

A stunningly, life-sized, steel sculpture of the magnificent rhinoceros, has recently been installed at the DerwenCollege in Oswestry, in a bid to entice more visitors. The College, a real flagship of excellence, specializes in the teaching and education of people affected by a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities.

The Rhino arrived courtesy of the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry, who were approached by the college, in response to hearing of the Oswestry’s Urban Safari Trail.

Mr Clive Knowles, managing director of the BIC, said:  “although, strictly speaking the Derwen College was outside the areas involved in the trail, the college was such an amazing place, offering life changing support and education, to its many students, we feel it was a more than worthy candidate for help and Support.”

Mr Andrew Smith, Assistant principle at the Derwe nCollege added: “Community involvement is extremely important to all of us at Derwen College. We hope the safari trail brings many new visitors into the commercial areas of the campus so that local people and tourists can gain a greater awareness of the work our students do. It’s been an absolute pleasure to establish this link between The British Ironwork Centre and the College and we hope we can continue to develop a long term partnership between our two organisations.

The British Ironworks Centre in Aston, Oswestry,  recent winners of the Chronicle “Community Champion” Business awards, are also set to donate other items, such as huge steel gerbera flowers for the garden, along with doorknobs and similar items, that can be decorated by the students and sold in their shop on site.  The profits will go directly back into the college.

Mr Knowles also added, “We are delighted to be able to get involved and assist such a worthwhile place, the college has so much to offer the community”  It really is worth a visit, and with lots to see and buy, you wont fail to be impressed by what they create and achieve.

Visit their farm shop and garden centre, both are wonderful.

In Photo from Left:
Rachel Mulkern – Derwen College Student
Tamara Hijazi – Derwen College Student
Sophie Parsons – Derwen College Student
Hayley May – Derwe nCollege Student
Rhydian Williams – Derwen College Student
Clive Knowles – Managing Director, British Ironwork Centre
Andrew Smith – Assistant Principal, Derwen College

Derwen - Rhino

Derwen – Rhino

“Community spirit gives Wings to Safari Trail” - The eagle has landed at Oswald’s well…

The British Ironworks Centre of Oswestry, together with local Councillors, Keith Barrow, Vince Hunt, Oswestry School, Digger Rentals, T G Griffiths & Jeremy Schrecker (Local Sculptor) have teamed together to site the second of the larger Urban Safari creatures, chosen for the iconic Safari Trail in Oswestry, with all of the Installation labour & raw materials being donated freely for the sole benefit of the Town.  The magnificent “Eagle” which stands at circa nine feet tall on its specially designed plinth has been provided by the British Ironworks Centre, recent winners of the Chronicle Business Awards for “Community Champion”.

The Eagle Has Landed

The Eagle Has Landed

It has been placed at the site of St Oswald’s Well, next to the school, on Oswald’s well Lane.  T G Griffiths kindly supplied the Ready Mix concrete, whilst Digger rentals then lifted and sited the huge bird using their Teleporter.   Engraving Plus of Oswestry then kindly engraved the plaque, with a fitting inscription to the memory of King Oswald the Christian King who bravely fought in the battle of Masefield in 642AD.

King Oswald, who was defeated in battle, supposedly had one of his arms taken by a huge eagle, who took it to a nearby tree where it fell to the ground and was said to have caused a natural spring to form.  Local Sculptor, Jeremy Schrecker, has carefully crafted a mans arm which has been fitted into a specially created gauntlet to represent the arm of King Oswald.

Mr Douglas Robb, Head of Oswestry School, representing the students, says “I am delighted we can be involved in the Safari trail, The eagle highlights the history of Oswestry, And I am astonished by the Generosity & kindness from the British Ironwork Centre to help our town!”.

Mr Clive Knowles, Managing director of the British Ironworks Centre, said “I am both surprised and delighted at the response for help and donations from local business owners. It has been most inspiring”.

Mr Vince Hunt Councillor said “I am so pleased the eagle has been installed, this will be the anchor for the safari trail, St Oswald’s well is a Forgotten place & hopefully this will encourage far more visitors.”

Hereford Course of blacksmithing excellence is represented here by two second year students, Mr James Osborne & Mr Alex sellers, currently undergoing work experience at the British iron work centre. It is hoped that this coming together of the British Ironworks centre, with local schools, town Councillors and local artists, sculptors, and businesses will help to promote a great sense of pride in the community, and give a healthy, much needed boost to local tourism trade.

The British Ironworks centre would like to hear from any artisans, ground workers or historians that would like to contribute time, resources or advice, in preparing any of the projects being proposed.


Staff at The British Ironwork Centre, Oswestry joined with The Marches School as one of the first sites in Oswestry to adopt a giant metal sculpture. As part of the Oswestry Urban Safari Trail the sculpture – an awesomely impressive Gorilla – will grace the front of the school visible by visitors and passers-by alike.

Shropshire’s largest secondary school adopted the majestic Gorilla sculpture as part of a unique project to increase footfall and tourism in and around the Oswestry area. The 7ft Gorilla will take pride of place on the front lawn, within the school grounds, creating a dramatic and theatrical entrance for students, staff, parents, residents and visitors to the Oswestry area.

Ben Knowles from the British Ironwork Centre commented, “The Marches have been quick off the mark, in being one of the first to unveil a major sculpture within the Oswestry Safari Trail. The staff and pupils at both The Marches and the British Ironwork Centre are very excited to see the reactions of passes by and to be part of the first project of its kind in the country

Sarah Longville, Headteacher at The Marches School commented, “We are delighted to be supporting the Oswestry Safari Trail and providing a home for this wonderful Gorilla sculpture. I am sure our students will really enjoy getting involved with the trail and the animals around town will create a great talking point, for both residents and new visitors to Oswestry.

Robert Butler, a member of the staff at the British Ironwork Centre aiding the installation added, “It is an amazing piece of art and judging the faces of onlookers whilst installation was taking place, we are confident it will soon become a local spectacle!

Left to right – Sarah Longville, Ben Knowles, Vince Hunt and Martin Bennett.

Oswestry Safari Trail Gorilla at The Marches School

Oswestry Safari Trail Gorilla at The Marches School

New Safari trail in Oswestry starts to take shape

Plans for a new and extraordinary safari trail for Oswestry are now taking shape, thanks to the ideas and imagination of head of Shropshire Council, Mr. Keith Barrow.

The Oswestry trail project whose aim is to help increase footfall and enhance the visitor experience in the town, has been made possible thanks to the generous supply and loan of handmade metal animal sculptures from the British Ironworks Centre (BIC) in Oswestry. The local firm has offered to supply and help install around 35 iconic and bespoke pieces which will form the new and exciting trail for the town.

Local Councilor for Oswestry, Vince Hunt who is leading the project, met up with Clive and Tracy Knowles, proprietors of BIC in Aston Oswestry  on 11 February, 2013 to view some of the enigmatic animals some of which reach as high as nearly 20ft.

The British Ironwork Centre (BIC) in Oswestry who have sourced and lovingly collected the animal statues, from all over the globe,  had been asked to provide the Council with a proposal to install a selection of the animals in and around Oswestry as a way of ‘giving something back to the town’, no funding or financial support is or has been given to BIC, its purely local business supporting and helping enhance the town.

Following approval by the Oswestry Joint Economic Board, and talks with local artists,  shop owners and retailers,  plans and assessments are now being developed to position the charismatic animals/statues around the town. There will be approximately 20 small portable sculptures suitable for indoor locations, and shop fronts, and between 10 to 15 larger pieces to be located in key locations around the town.

BIC have been asked to refresh and to rotate many exhibits, routinely each year or as required , to keep the Oswestry Trail fresh and dramatic.

Over the next few months the animals will be located in Oswestry at selected areas that provide the highest visible impact to those arriving by road and cycle users from the A5 and then to draw them through town to the centre and to areas that are not immediately apparent to visitors, thereby increasing footfall to those areas.

It is hoped the animals will give residents, especially young people, added points of interest around the town as well as giving a “wow” factor for incoming visitors to spend more time in Oswestry which in turn will benefit retailers in the town.

Councilor Hunt and officers have been out and about in Oswestry talking to retailers and schools to take part in the project. Many retailers have already shown a keen interest in hosting the smaller pieces in their shops. Local residents, community and Art groups are also being encouraged to get involved. Councilor Hunt said;

“This new and exciting Safari Trail offers a unique selling point for Oswestry and will be a great asset for the town. It is important that we continue to invest in Oswestry as an exciting place to live and visit, for the greater well-being of all. It’s always nice to see something that’s got a bit of quirkiness and Frivolity. These animal sculptures will become local landmarks in their own right and will serve as a fitting entrance to the town centre and key locations throughout the town.

“We believe the Oswestry Safari Trail will really create a real sense of community spirit and will be something that local residents will support and be very proud of.”

The project has the potential of delivering new opportunities for people to get active through walking and to understand and appreciate the local landscape, its heritage, its places and the people.

Funding for the supply and installation of the mostly iron statues will be met in the main by BIC with minor costs being incurred by either Shropshire Council or Oswestry Town Council.

This is singularly the biggest corporate sponsored / local government initiative to be implemented within the last decade or within Oswestry’s living memory.

For more information about the project, or if you would like to get involved in some way, please ring 01691 610952.