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.
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.
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.
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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A pleasure to work with Links again on such a poignant programme. Delivering amazing high quality. Very much looking forward to working together again in the future.Robert Varney – Engagement Officer (North) & TfL Charities Scheme Manager
Links Signs took on the challenge to provide the awards for the first Transport for London Supplier Awards. Using products and materials that are supplied to TfL for our station signage, Links created very impressive plaques for our winners and runners up. Throughout the production process Links kept TfL up to date with images, delivery schedule and were always on hand to clarify any queries. We look forward to working with them again next year.Amanda Green – Transport for London
Link Signs provide a first class service throughout the design, production and delivery process. I worked closely with the team on a high profile project, with requirements changing on a sometimes daily basis. Links Signs went and above and beyond to meet our requirements and surpassed our expectations. I would highly recommend and endorse working with Link Signs.Catherine Villegas – Project Manager, Transport for London
The team at Links Signs provide unfailing support and flexibility, which enables us to develop ambitious schemes and be confident of the highest quality results. Working with them has transformed the way we approach our exhibition design.Catherine Harvey – Hastings Museum Office & Keeper of World Art
Links Signs successfully managed a complex project overseeing the manufacture and installation of 48 panels to create a bespoke mural on the Transport for London (TfL) owned bridge and the station entrance at Northwood Hills station. Links ensured not only that all the technical and engineering requirements of TfL were met but also that the extensive colour hues specified by mural artists Gordon Collett and Cosmo Sarson were achieved. The finished result is wonderful, as summed up by Mayor of London Boris Johnson when he visited ‘My God, it’s beautiful! Did we do this? The murals – they’re sensational!’ He added: ‘I think it’s all fantastic, really imaginative. I’m very proud.’Helena Webster – Town Centre Improvements Team Manager, London Borough of Hillingdon
Links Signs are experienced, professional and offer great value for money. I know I am in safe hands when I am working with them.Mariam Zulfiqar – Freelance Curator