Date Plaque

Letter Carving

A small commission to carve lettering into a blank plaque – left blank since the house was built. The trouble was that the person commissioning it was an old-school graphic designer. I studied graphics and was massively into typography and calligraphy. Back then computers were coming in but were dreadfully slow, so it was right on the cusp of the old analogue world and a new digital one. Typesetters whose job it was to put the type and images together from vinyl print outs and paste onto a board using Cow Gum, and then sent of to the printers. We used to hand render type too, using ultra-fine Rotring pens, and while this may all seem a little mad in the 21st century, you really got to know the difference between Helvetica and Univers, Caslon and Baskerville.

Altering type

Bearing this in mind, I also had to alter the type to make the thinner parts of the numbers thicker in order to catch the light – so they didn’t disappear on a dull day. I was very aware the client knew the typeface inside out, and was rather nervous that the negative shapes of the letterforms had to be spot on.

The Plaque

The rest of the house had been renovated and the painted pebble-dash removed from the exterior. The plaque was still covered in many layers of paint which I removed, then I applied the template and altered the numbers in-situ and carved.

Thankfully the client was overjoyed with the results saying it was everything he could have hoped for!


Sundial Restoration


A lorry delivering to some of the homes in Richmond Park had backed into a 17th century sundial podium and knocked it over. On doing so it revealed that the sundial had been repaired more than once during its lifetime and one at least one occasion not that sympathetically.

The stem had been knocked off and the decorative head bashed off with some damage to the egg and dart and acanthus leaf embellishments.

The capital smashed and in a poor state.

The base. Oddly there was no glue or mortar in the hole for the pin.


I actually really like jobs like this. I like the accuracy of the indents and the carving. So I indented new stone into the cap and carved the patterns to follow the original.

Indented cap ready to be refixed

Using a lifting apparatus and a block and tackle we lowered the stem part of the stone into the new hole using chemfix to get the strongest fix possible for the pin and used epoxy resin for the base, leaving the edges for lime mortar.

The finished article


Pillar Reinstatement


This was a key word in the post-war world. Anything Victorian was seen as antediluvian: cluttered, fussy, dark and ugly. People wanted a new sleeker modern world. Fireplaces were ripped out and replaced with tiles, panelled doors covered with hardboard, medieval guildhalls knocked down and replaced with glass and concrete shopping centres.

Well how times have changed. Those windows you see behind the pillars were installed in 1972. The hatch windows can’t open with the pillars in front. So they were taken out and an angle iron left to support the 2 lintels. Basically, the 1970s while providing my favourite music, has also provided me with the bulk of my work, undoing the damage of cheap ugly, shoddy alterations and reinstating the original features.

Reinstated pillars and new lintels

17 Ridley Road before. Note the sagging angle irons underneath the lintels.


I was asked to provide drawings of the existing and proposed alterations. I have no idea why. A photograph of the existing and photograph of the neighbouring house would have provided the powers that be with all the information they needed, but they wanted a drawing so who am I to quibble?


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