Final stages for Lancaster’s iconic rocking horse

Lancaster's iconic rocking horse shop sign. Picture by James Mackie.
Lancaster's iconic rocking horse shop sign. Picture by James Mackie.
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Lancaster’s iconic rocking horse is back in one piece and on its way to be lovingly restored.

Designer James Mackie has spent countless hours on the famous shop sign and now fans will not have to wait long to see the finished piece.

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

Work took longer than expected to remove the damaged pine and James is pleased the horse is standing again with a new hip.

James said: “The main joints have been re-glued and dowelled and the other repairs have been completed using some well seasoned pine from some very old joists to match as best as possible the original wood.”

After many sessions of re-carving and sanding the horse is ready to paint.

Although slightly green in colour James explains the horse has undergone two coats of anti-fungal preservative.

James said: “Progress from now on should be more obvious and satisfying.

“The colours will be familiar to all those who remember the horse and I’m particularly looking forward to the challenge of the lettering.”

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.

The sign was removed from the building, most recently occupied by The Enchanted Kids Company, in New Street, last September.

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 – the same year the Lancaster Guardian was founded. Once restored the rocking horse will return to the shop in New Street.