Lancaster’s iconic Rocking Horse returns

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by Gemma Sherlock
Lancaster's iconic rocking horse. Picture by Gemma Sherlock

The city’s historic shop sign which was taken down over a year ago for restoration works has been returned to its former glory.

After months of restoration work by Lancaster designer James Mackie the city welcomed the return of the shop sign on New Street.

It’s a beautiful return

Matt Mackay

The horse now sits proudly above Wibbly Wobbly Burger which was previously Lawsons Toy store owned by Matt and Liz Mackay.

Designer James Mackie, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale David Morris, Liz Hickingbotham, Lancaster BID Manager and previous owners Matt and Liz Mackay were all in attendance to see the unveiling.

The project has been the collaboration of five organisations in Lancaster that has enabled the restored Rocking Horse to be returned: Lancaster BID, Mackies, Castlegate Security, property owners Liz and Matt Mackay, and the Wibbly Wobbly Burger Bar itself.

James Mackie of Mackies in Dalton Square has spent countless hours over the past months lovingly restoring the historic sign, which had deteriorated over many years of being exposed to the elements.

This week after being reinstated for all to see, everyone agreed that the results have been well worth waiting for.

James said: “I’ve grown very fond of her over the past months even though we have both seen each other at our worst during the restoration - there has been some ‘language’!

“After all the corrupt fibreglass had been chipped off, I made her a new hip and a lot of rotten wood had to be replaced and re-carved.

“All the major joints were re-glued and dowelled and then a lengthy filling and sanding process was done before a comprehensive paint job. I replaced the mane and tail with real horse hair as per the original and then gilded and painted the famous lettering. She looks happy now, when I first got her to my workshop she had quite a long face!”

Local security provider, Castlegate Security generously offered to undertake the enormous task of reinstating the finished sign, free of charge, to ensure that the horse was restored safely to its rightful place.

Matt Mackay said: “It is fantastic to see her back here, we have been following the restoration closely and we are very close to the Mackies.

“We knew James would do the horse justice as he is passionate about Lancaster’s history as we are.

“It’s a beautiful return.”

Liz Hickingbotham, BID manager said: “The BID aims to improve the street-scape of the city centre and renovating the appearance of shop fronts is one way of doing this.

“Lancaster BID has a duty to work with businesses located on quieter streets, to help increase their footfall. We’re hoping the horse will attract people to the amazing shops and eateries in New Street and Church Street, an area which can sometimes be overlooked.”

MP David Morris said: “It is absolutely marvellous to see that we have got her back. It’s great, it’s iconic, it’s part of Lancaster.”