Cast iron was first manufactured on a significant scale in England during the sixteenth century. King Henry VIII ordered cannons to be made from it. The process was cheap and efficient and gave the Royal Navy an advantage. Heavy pots and pans were then produced at blast furnaces alongside ordnance. But it was not until the turn of the eighteenth century that lighter-weight, finer work was made from cast iron with the invention of sand molding.
The railings around the churchyard of St Paul’s Cathedral in London are among the earliest examples of architectural cast-iron in the country, dating from 1714.