National Memorial Arboretum

This project was awarded Award in the Design and Technology Innovation category at the Natural Stone Awards 2008.

The official guide said, 'This is a national memorial in Portland limestone to the 15,530 members of the armed forces who have died on duty since the end of World War II. The name of each one is inscribed on the walls of this memorial in a font specially designed for the purpose by Richard Kindersley., and the roll of honour is being added to continually.

The memorial stands on a man-made mound in the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Sraffordshire.

Portland stone steps lead up to the mound, on which is build a 6m high wall of Portland limestone forming an incomplete circle of 43m in diamerter with a gilded-topped obelisk at one end and a slit in the walls that at 11am on the 11 November (Armistice Day) allows the sun to shine on an altar in the centre of the circle.

Inside the outer diamerter of stone are two parallel walls of Portland stone leading to the 12m high obelisk. The glided stone on the top of the obelish is the largest single block in the project. It weighs 4 tonnes.

The walls comprise of 1,374 panels of Portland Basebed stone. The panels are 1350mm high x 740mm wide on the curved walls and 1125mm high x 732,, 2ide on the flat panels. The 15,530 names are inscribed on 700 of the panels. The 360 tonnes of finished stone for the memorial were produced and erected in less than a year by S McConnell & Sons at their workshops in Northern Ireland.

It would have taken a band of lettercutters a decade to cut all the names by hand but it required some software developments to be able to cut them by machine on the curved surfaces of the walls. Those developments took place at McConnells ad the names were cut into the stone using a large Omag CNC workcentre. It enabled the project ot be ready as planned for the Queen to participate in a service there on Armistice Day 2007.

As well as the technological solutions, McConnells worked through floods to keep the project on track, continuing construction when the memorial mound was surrounded by water. It is a level of devotion appropriate to a memorial to those who have given their lives in the course of duty to their country.'

The judges commented, 'This remarkably important memorial so far records 15,530 service personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Clearly hand carving of each name could not be fitted into a realistic timescale. Richard Kindersley devised a letter face that could be cut by a machine but retain the craftsman spirit. This project clearly demomstrates technological innovation.'

To view this project in more detail, please click here.

National Memorial Arboretum using Portland Stone built by Albion Stone