SLIDESHOW: Rocky road to success for Lancaster’s iconic shop sign

Restoration of Lancaster’s iconic rocking horse has been a tough challenge as work reveals significant rot to the famous shop sign.

Designer James Mackie has dedicated 20 hours to the ornamental animal which hung over Lawson’s toy shop on New Street for many years.

Lancaster Rocking Horse. James Mackie.

Lancaster Rocking Horse. James Mackie.

After six sessions the horse’s fibreglass had been stripped which revealed the true extent of the rotted pine underneath.

James said: “It took longer than I thought as removing it varied from levering it off in largish pieces, the size of a jam jar lid, to being chipped off in tiny fragments inch by inch with various chisels.

“To be frank, I’m glad it’s over but I’m not that chuffed with what I found beneath.

“Some areas under the fibreglass are soaking wet – and some places have rotted right through. As soon as she was stripped back she literally started to perspire. It’s not all been gloomy, it was lovely to peel back the layers and find two shiny glass eyes sparkling underneath, and following the lines of the stylised muscles and ligaments with my chisels has been a pleasure.”

To be frank, I’m glad it’s over but I’m not that chuffed with what I found beneath

James Mackie, designer

The horse also needs a new hinge between its hip and front leg which was damaged by rot.

The next step of the restoration will be the horse’s rockers, its base, which is built of laminates of plywood that are benefiting from the fibreglass.

James will replace some parts of these with new marine plywood and then coat those up with epoxy resin to stabilise the whole structure.

These will then be painted in marine quality enamel paints that can be sanded and recoated at regular intervals in the future.

James said: “Anyway, she’s breathing again, that’s the main thing.”