Fabian Peake War Memorial artwork

ProjectSt Pancras War Memorial

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Fabian Peake War Memorial artwork

Artist Fabian Peake proudly removes the final protective covering from his war memorial at St Pancras Station

Links Signs delivers vitreous enamel St Pancras War Memorial designed by Fabian Peake

On 8th November 2018, for Armistice Day, a brand new War Memorial designed by artist Fabian Peake was unveiled at St Pancras International Station on the Grand Terrace. When unveiled, it marked 100 years since the end of WWI. Consequently, it is a permanent reminder of the fundamental role the railways played in both wars and a memorial to lives lost.

Links Signs were approached by Fabian Peake, a London-based artist, to manufacture and install his artwork, made from vitreous enamel. The commission commemorates railway workers who worked for St Pancras Station and who lost their lives in both world wars.

We worked closely with Fabian to realise his vision for the war memorial. His design takes the form of job titles of the employees of the period, at the station and goods yard. Each plaque resembles a funeral card – white plaques with a black border and black handwritten titles. Although simple in design, the final effect really stands out from the Grade I listed brickwork at the station.

From Conception to Realisation – Planning

The process of taking Fabian’s design and making it a reality is a tale of many stages. The process began with a full structural survey of the wall at St Pancras earmarked to display the completed installation. For maximum structural viability, the name plates designed by Fabian could not simply be individually mounted to the wall. Instead, they needed structural support in the form of five larger aluminium backplates. Links Signs produced detailed structural drawings and schematics for approval by Fabian and the Station’s own engineers. Each of the backplates holds several of the smaller individual plaques in place. As such, the backplates needed to be plasma-cut to the exact outline of the individual plates fixed to them.

Fabrication & Printing

Each of the plaques designed by Fabian began as lengths of steel plate, cut to the artist’s exact specifications. 30 separate plates comprise the overall installation. These get a base vitreous enamel coating and are then baked in our furnace, ready for screen printing. Whilst this is happening, our screen printers are busy creating screen negatives from digitally produced graphics prepared by our designers, working from the artist’s original concepts. The plates are then ready to have the graphics screen printed to them with vitreous enamel inks. Once printed, the plates then go back in to our furnace for a final bake to complete the enamelling process. As part of our quality control process, we ensure all the elements fit together and align correctly, before everything gets packed for loading on to our fleet of delivery vehicles.

Installation

Due to the sheer scale and height of the area being covered by the memorial, our fully accredited expert install team used a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP). First, the aluminium backplates were bolted in place to pre-drilled cavities in the brickwork. These were then sealed with neoprene, before each of the printed plates were screwed, one by one, into the supporting backplates. Installation took place during non-operational hours and Fabian Peake was there himself to peel the protective film off the last panel of the fully installed war memorial, ready for the unveiling ceremony.

 

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