Going Loco

12 months ago I was asked to propose a design to embellish a ‘pavilion’ structure conceived by architect John Whiting as a focal point for a new housing estate by Croudace Homes in Ashford, near the site of the old Ashford Locomotive works.

Their first train in 1850 was nicknamed the Coffee pot, because of its distinctive vertical boiler:

My proposal incorporated this train into a diorama containing images from Victorian locomotive works – workers, as well as trains, with tools and smoke and general ‘industry’.

I liaised with the site’s steelwork fabricators on the dimensions and fixing plates required for my work and so was left with a void to fill. Roof height 5m (plus my chimney on top) and an overall diameter of 5.5m.

Smoke panels around the roof first; a quantity of laser cut ‘fluffy’ shapes forged more fluffy:and welded together in a jig to form the 6 sextants to bolt around the flat roof:Start off with a worker or two to get a feel for the overall style:I’ve specified lots of fixing brackets in the main structure so I have plenty of flexibility for hanging chains and tools, birds and smoke.

Next, that wonderful Coffee Pot train built up on a jig with the fixing plates correctly set out for the curved fixing rails of the Pavilion structure:And part of another one nudging into the scene:

I’m liking that smoke motif a lot, so am making more and more of it. As an after-thought I’ve cut into the rolled chimney and filled that with smoke too:

One of the Ashford works’ later trains was the Hastings Class, so here is a reference to that, just coming in to the picture:

and then a load of various bits and pieces to use up all of the spare fixing points:Everything gets zinc sprayed and powder coated in 4 shades of black and grey by Blastreat of Arundel, in perfect time for installation day – a big thanks to James for his adept cherry picker manoeuvring in tight spaces!

and now wait for the landscaping to be done so I can get some better pictures of it…

Took me 4 years – but finally returned in may 2022 to get some pics; really relieved to see there’s no graffiti or vandalism at all.



About Jon

I'm the Grumpy Man of Metal. What more do you need to know? Bah!
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