HMS Outreach and Value Committee

The HMS Outreach and Value Committee (OVC) looks at new ways for the Society to provide members with a positive membership experience, and to promote understanding of the world’s metallurgical heritage to members and non-members alike.

Current projects include the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within the Society so that they make a viable focus for those interests.  The first of the SIGs will be ‘SIG – Iron’.

Another project includes finding better ways to engage with other Societies and organisations with shared aims and interests, and also with schools and universities, and not least, with the general public.  We anticipate liaison with other Societies will lead to joint conferences where suitable and to promoting each other’s activities.

A glossary of metallurgical terms, both current and historic is being assembled, intended to improve understanding of historical metallurgy.

The committee is also exploring how expertise within the HMS membership might be harnessed in activities such as cataloguing a metallurgical archive or characterising a metallurgical monument, projects that might have a social as well as a historical function.

These objectives and projects need the continued support of the membership through their subscriptions and active engagement.  If you are interested in taking part in any of these activities, please contact the OVC Chair, Eddie Birch HERE

Meet the team

Chair of the HMS OVC

Eddie Birch

Secretary of the HMS OVC

Vanessa Cheel

Applies metallography, optical and electron microscopy to a variety of archaeological metals.

Vanessa studied Engineering and Materials Sciences at first degree level and has a doctorate in Metallurgy & the Science of Materials which involved using light, x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons and electrons to investigate copper. Since the techniques were mastered, they’ve been applied to a variety of archaeological metals. Metallography, optical and electron microscopy are current pursuits. Small scale experimental metal working takes place in the back garden.

Her academic interests in Materials Characterisation have been blended with education and public outreach; committee experience was gained on the local Parish Council.

Louise Bacon

Margaret Birch

Bill Hawkes

Peter Northover

Paul Rondelez

He wrote his thesis on Iron Age and Roman iron smelting in Belgium and obtained his PhD degree based on research into late medieval iron production in Ireland.

Paul has a life-long interest in mining and metal production through his father's mineral collecting hobby. He obtained his Master's Degree in Archaeology at Ghent University (Belgium) with a thesis on Iron Age and Roman iron smelting in Belgium and his PhD degree based on research into late medieval iron production in Ireland. His interests also include non-ferrous metal mining in Ireland and the Irish charcoal-fired blast furnace.

Corresponding Members

Tom Birch

Jeremy Hodgkinson

Jeremy Hodgkinson's main interests are in the Wealden iron industry and in cast-iron firebacks, both subjects on which he has written a book.

Andrew Naylor

Jonathan Prus

His principal interests are the unresolved aspects of bloomery technology, especially relating to draught, furnace thermal properties and slag chemistry.

Born 1950. In teaching for 10 years. Subsequently ran a company providing learning disability services. First degrees in History and Politics, then Life Sciences. Then Ph.D. at Cranfield University. Then an MBA. (The last three by part-time study.)

A member of HMS Council since 2014 and Hon. Gen. Secretary since 2017. An active member of the Wealden Iron Research Group.

Principal interests: unresolved aspects of bloomery technology, especially relating to draught, furnace thermal properties and slag chemistry. A recently developing interest in the interrelated issues of skill, cognition and ideology among ancient ironworkers.