Lancaster rocking horse is hot to trot

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by James Mackie.

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by James Mackie.

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The city’s iconic rocking horse is hardly recognisable after months of restoration work.

Lancaster’s popular shop sign is near completion after undergoing a vigorous revamp and is set to return to its home later this month.

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by James Mackie.

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by James Mackie.

Designer James Mackie has spent countless hours lovingly restoring the historic sign which previously sat on The Enchanted Kids Company, now Wibbly Burger Bar, on New Street.

Although it has been a fun project James admit the process was gruelling at times.

The horse suffered significant rot and major work had to be done to replace most of the pine on its body and front legs.

New hinges have been fitted with a new front leg as previous materials were left to rot.

I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, almost fairy-tale look!

James Mackie

Two coats of primer and undercoats as well as a stain block and exterior gloss has been added to the horse and its rocker.

James is happy the horse is now set for the finer details.

He said: “Although smelly work, the painting has been satisfying after the challenges of the stripping and re-building process.

“I received the horsehair by post two weeks ago and spent last week embedding the mane, forelock and tail into the woodwork using silicone and copper roofing nails (which will not rust).

“I spent more money than I had intended on the hair because I wanted it long so that I could trim to shape – always better to have too much than too little.

“I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, almost fairy-tale look!

“From now on I’m concentrating on the lettering – which will be quite a job - and then her face and hoof details.

“She should be ready for putting back above the shop later this month.

“I shall be sorry to see her go. She finally looks ready for the great outdoors!”

The listed shop sign was the last memoir of the Lawsons toy business, owned by Matt and Liz Mackay, which was set up in 1837.

Fans have been waiting for its return since it was taken down in September 2014.