The Bird has Flown……..


The Birdcage Arbour, Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire

Once upon a time, along time ago….there lived a Blacksmith named  Robert Bakewell (1682 -1752). In 1706 he was engaged to build a Arbour in the gardens of Melbourne Hall.  It was his first major work of art and it showed off his skills as a creative Blacksmith.  The Arbour was built to overlook the main garden pond and to provide uninterrupted views over the lawns to the Hall…


Descriptively named the Birdcage it was never intended as an aviary.  It is a creative  and intricate construction of interlaced ironwork all decorated with entwined metal leaves and a gilt symbols.


In over 300 years the Birdcage has remained unchanged and I guess the view back to Melbourne Hall is also much the same as in 1706…still imposing.


Robert Bakewell creation of the Birdcage was only the start of a creative lifetime. His Blacksmith skills were used in Churches and Houses across Derbyshire…but along with the Birdcage I guess it is the Iron Rood Screen in Derby Cathedral are the most noteable…and yes, you can detect the same craftsman style, his handwriting so to speak, in what is a very different tribute to his skills.


The Rood Screen, Derby Cathedral

As for Melbourne Hall….well that is another  piece of Derbyshire history.  I will share that with you tomorrow and reveal its Australian connection.

26th August

(C) David Oakes 2016


10 thoughts on “The Bird has Flown……..

    • Bakewell developed a style that is familiar in many old Derbyshire Churches and Major houses. They are so obviously important in their own right that in some cases when the purpose of the main building has declined the Ironwork has been moved elsewhere……the outer gates to Derby Cathedral were only installed a few years ago having done duty elsewhere….and they match the screen.

  1. David shame on you, you are lying to us. Britain (since the sun does not set on the empire anymore) is relatively small – it cannot have all these beautiful places!!

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