Carving polyurethane sheets to decorate buildings


GRP in the examples illustrated are produced by carving polyurethane sheets into the desired design – painting the finished design in liquid wax to prevent interaction between the polyurethane base and the polyester resin used to laminate the glass fibre sheets.

All examples were produced without a female mould, thus the design was produced back to front.

It is possible to execute work on a large or small scale, an example of an intricate design is the polished bronze GRP plaque depicting the London to Brighton Vintage Car Rally.

Bronze filled and acid washed mural. Co-operative Insurance Society Manchester
Nickel silver filled bas-relief The Story of Wool. International Wool Secretariate Lecture Theatre.

Decorating concrete with household objects



The ingenuity and imaginative use of household objects is so impressive.

Research and Development led to many new methods of producing decorative techniques.

No.1. is a small model machine able to produce textures to a given scale. These small panels were put together to produce the gable end to a block of flats.

No. 2: To obtain the full scale pattern I bought an old mangle and made a concrete roller with the pattern produced in a similar manner to a cylinder seal.

No. 3: When the clay carrying the impressed pattern was cut into rectangles, it was placed under a home-made vacuum forming machine.

 N’ 4: Impressed surfaces

I purchased a large number of unused refrigerator sides and via the vac machine sucked these down onto the shaped clay. When set they were removed, placed in full-size moulds, concrete was cast against them and the resulting panel was erected on the building (No.5).

What is pride of place?

Proud of their new home in Cwmbran New Town

Proud of their new home in Cwmbran New Town


Post war developers cleared slums and created homes for heroes. These early developments engendered a sense of pride in people’s homes that had nothing to do with home ownership, but much more to do with pride of place.  It did not matter whether you own your property or not, it was still yours, and people communicated this ownership through well kept gardens and vegetable patches and conspicuously well cared for homes.


Thatchers’ attempts to re-invent this sense of pride through the Right to Buy programme, allowing people to buy properties at knock down prices did not work, because it failed to realise that people’s sense of pride in their environment was as much emotion as it was financial. The ultimate effect of this disasterous policy is to create ghettos of social housing, the bits of council estates that nobody really wants to live in and these become cauldrons of disaffection as shown in the image above.

New Town housing and religious persuasion



Does the Catholic background of the majority of the inhabitants have a part to play in the development of mass housing?  It has been been suggested that the religion of the inhabitants may have affected decision to re-located people to mass housing out of town.

But, considerable research would need to be done to ascertain the relationship of religion to housing development.

Concrete on Motorways


Sixties Concrete on Motorways

with thanks to William George Mitchell

Many of these bas-relief finishes became very large projects, such as the Kidderminster ring road retaining walls with fountains. The wall itself was formed using a series of repeating pieces of formwork – the fountains were ‘one-off’ moulds. Each fountain was different to the next.

1. Workshop. Layout

2. attached to formwork

3. glass fibre on formwork lifted into place

4. in place

5. being cast

At play in Skelmersdale New Town


This excellent old train once had pride of place in the New Church Farm play area in Skelmersdale. Now, for reasons of health and safety is has been removed and more acceptable play apparatus put in its place. But possibly at the loss of developing children’s imagination? Newer, housing developments such as Nine Elms in Battersea, London have re-invented this idea of imaginative play.

A school on legs


Glenthorne school annexe in Skelmersdale was is an imaginative feast. An annexe to the main building, which is rather more orthodox, it rather has the look of a structure put together with left over building materials.