Amanda Aiano Zilberstein —
The church of St. Peter-in-the-Forest, Walthamstow, is a grade II listed building, set in an outcrop of Epping Forest. This Italianate-style Victorian church was built partly in the early nineteenth century and partly in the later part of the century. Aiano was contacted to manufacture and provide hand woven church window guards for this beautiful church.
The church has a large verdant and picturesque church yard which is maintained by the PCC and the Council. It attracts many bird including some rare species and the congregations organizes bird watching meetings from time to time.
The church contacted Aiano because one of its precious stained glass windows had been vandalized and, after repairing the window, they needed a new guard to protect it.
The church also decided to replace the guards on several other windows at the same time. These guards had corroded away with age.
Aiano made an initial site visit to take templates of the windows needing new guards.
Aiano senior wireworker, Steve Smart, made new window guards from hand woven stainless steel mesh. Aiano are, to our knowledge, the only company left in the country keeping alive traditional wire weaving skills and hand weaving window guards for churches and Cathedrals.
Steve returned to St Peter’s to fix the new window guards, but first the old guards had to be removed. A mixture of different kinds of guards had been installed over the years. Some had been fixed in place with large masonry nails that had cracked the Victorian brickwork. In some places lead clips had been used to hold the guards in place. Some of the nails could not be removed for fear of damaging the brickwork.
Aiano always uses non-ferrous stainless steel screws that will not damage or discolour precious stonework and brickwork.
Before fixing the new guards we brush away the accumulated dust and debris and wash the windows.
Weld mesh and woven mesh window guards
Aiano makes window guards from both woven mesh and weld mesh according to customer requirements. Sometimes weld mesh guards are appropriate in order to match existing guards in situ. However, with 150 years’ experience of making hand woven church window guards we can say that the old woven mesh methods are the best.
Hand woven church window guards are longer lasting and they are aesthetically more sympathetic to the fabric of the church building because they have a natural hand-crafted beauty.
Fixing the new hand woven church window guards
Aiano uses different methods of fixing depending on the requirements and constraints of each particular job.
In this particular case, the guards could not be fixed within the reveal because they had to match the other guards already on site.
Aiano pays great attention to detail and, as a finishing touch, Steve paints the stainless steel screw heads with a spot of black paint to make the guards less conspicuous.