Mural update – Blake, fabrication drawings & structural design workings

Everyone keeps asking us – when are you going to start? As though we haven’t been beavering away with the research, the design, the permissions, the false starts, the fund-raising and all the other exciting background stuff that you can’t actually see.

We have now given the go-ahead to start the actual process of creating the mural. A few weeks ago the Site Survey was carried out, and this has resulted in a series of fabrication drawings and structural design workings. This will enable construction of the metal frame on which the mural will be hung.

We’ve also been sent a couple of enamel tiles with different shades of blue on them to choose the colour of the river, which will obviously be a very important colour threading through all of the maps.

Sarah has been trying to rationalise the number of colours on the maps, as this affects how many times we need to bake the big metal sheets. It seems that each colour needs a separate baking and so the more colours you use, the longer it takes (and the more it costs!). Vitreous enamel, says Wikipedia, is “a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing” at very high temperatures to create a “layered composite of glass and metal.” We hope to understand the process better as we go through the creation of the mural and we can bring you updates from the front line of VE design and manufacture!

Sir Peter Blake drew the number for the winner of the competition to name all the people on his collage of the Chiswick Empire. Watch it here, as filmed by The Chiswick Calendar.

We had a whopping 318 entries, of which 171 got over 35 correct responses and went into the draw. The winner was Paul Beard, a music hall fan from Herefordshire. “My family would tell you that I’m always quoting/singing the songs of Marie Lloyd, Charles Coborn, Harry Champion, Gus Elen, etc.” Our sympathies to his family. No-one got all the answers right.

The competitors seem to have fun. Anne & Heather wrote: “How we giggled at our wrong answers!” Nicky said: “My grandmother took me to the Chiswick Empire when I was a child, loved it.” Maureen wrote: “I would just like to say how much pleasure the picture of Sir Peter Blake’s Chiswick Empire Stars gave me. My parents met at Chiswick Empire in 1935 and I grew up in Chiswick. I am now 75 years old, and have very fond memories of being taken to see the excellent entertainment this establishment provided. So sad it was demolished.”



Artwork and maps