A lasting legacy for Shrewsbury
To mark the bicentenary of Charles Darwin’s birth and we were a key player in making his home town of Shrewsbury at the heart of international celebrations.
Following a national competition to design a lasting memorial inspired by Darwin's life and ideas, ‘Quantum Leap’ was opened near the town's historic heart.
Geology was at the centre of a huge part of Darwin’s life and work and we got involved with the project an early stage. The project was a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to show our appreciation of Darwin and support this lasting sculpture in his home town – a town where we are part of the community.
Shropshire Council initiated this exciting project creating the 2nd largest sculpture in the UK, standing an impressive 12 metres tall and weighing in excess of 100 tonnes. A joint effort from our precast solutions, aggregates and cement teams provided support and products to the project as a charity donation. Our aim was to invest in the town of Shrewsbury and offer an impressive reminder of Charles Darwin.
The stone for the project was quarried from Croft in Leicestershire and our precast solutions team painstakingly supported the design, developed moulding solutions, produced very specific concrete mix designs and developed complex reinforcement designs. The end result being the manufacture and hand finishing of 31 propeller shaped blades, weighing three and half tonnes each, supported through the site erection stage by a complex web of 62 chain hoists and associated support frame work!
Andy Dix takes up the manufacturing story:
“When we started on this project, we had to consider the obvious advantages of mouldage and the skills deployed to design and create the casting vessels. It was critical to understand the complexity and control required to generate 31 identical units. Through trials and considerable support from our concrete technologists at Moordale House and the materials supplied, we managed to produce the perfect combination of skills, combination and mouldage.”
The ground around the Quantum Leap structure was finished off with a Geological Clock path which made use of some specialist asphalt products. Set within the path are rocks from the twelve geological periods. Five of these rock samples have been supplied from our quarries and collected by geologist Sam Rhodes. For an extra twist - the asphalts include one using a clear binder and recycled glass chippings that are luminous in the dark.