Family business casts plaque that's fit for a Queen

Plaqueimage

A family-owned foundry in Leicestershire is making the plaque that will be unveiled by The Queen at the start of her Diamond Jubilee Tour of the UK.

JR Designs Workshop Ltd of South Wigston has been commissioned by De Montfort University (DMU) to cast the bronze plaque that will mark Her Majesty’s visit to the university’s campus next week (8 March) – the first stop on The Queen’s nationwide tour.

Director Rod Boulton is delighted that his workshop – one of just a handful of foundries still casting brass and bronze in the UK – has been asked to make the plaque that will provide a lasting reminder of a very special occasion.

“We were so proud to receive the commission to cast the plaque that will mark the start of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Tour,” he said.

“In over 30 years of trading, we’ve made plaques for prime ministers, sports stars and actors – but this will be the first time that one of our plaques will be unveiled by Her Majesty.

“We take a huge amount of care to make sure that all our plaques are perfect – and when you’re using a process that’s barely changed over the past 2,000 years, you don’t always get it right first time – but we’re taking extra special care with this one.”

Making a plaque that’s fit for a Queen will take Mr Boulton and his staff around 15 hours.

The process starts with the making of a mould, into which molten bronze – heated to around 1100 degrees Celsius – is poured. After around five minutes, the metal will have cooled sufficiently for the plaque to be ‘knocked out’ of its sandy mould.

After that, it will take the team around four hours to smooth off any rough edges and polish the bronze to a soft sheen.

Professor David Wilson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, visited the foundry yesterday (28 February) to watch the plaque being cast.

“We wanted a very special plaque for a very special occasion, and we were delighted to find a local company able to produce one for us,” he said.

“True craftsmanship has gone into making this plaque – and, what’s more, it’s made in Leicestershire. And that’s going to be a theme for the visit – from the gifts we give to our royal visitors, to the plaque that will remind us of an historic occasion.

“It will be a very proud moment for us all, when Her Majesty unveils this plaque to mark a very important day in De Montfort University’s history.”

Preparations for the visit of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge to the university are now well under way, with plans in place to ensure that the Jubilee tour gets off to the best possible start.

During their visit to DMU, the Royal party will be greeted by cheering students, watch a fashion show featuring collections by recent DMU graduates and meet local people involved in the Square Mile community project.

Her Majesty The Queen will unveil the plaque outside the university’s Hugh Aston building, before the royal party leaves the campus for their next engagement at Leicester Cathedral.

More information about the royal visit to De Montfort University on 8 March is available at www.dmu.ac.uk/royalvisit|

There’s also a Facebook| page for the whole of The Queen’s visit to Leicester, including the royal party’s visit to the city’s cathedral and the Clock Tower.

Information about JR Designs Workshop Ltd’s cast brass and bronze plaques is available at www.brassplaques.info|

Posted on Wednesday 29th February 2012

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