Apprentices from the local engineering firm IAE, in collaboration with the Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and under the expert guidance of sculptor Andy Edwards, have unveiled a remarkable addition to Queens Gardens.
The project involved apprentices from IAE who took on the task of creating a tribute to a similar archway that graced Queens Gardens in the 1960s. The result is a 3-metre-high galvanised steel archway, with a twice-full-size representation of the St Edward Crown used in Coronations, now stands at the garden’s entrance.
This architectural marvel was intended to serve as a symbol of the town’s rich history. The arch marks its 850th anniversary, commemorates Queen Elizabeth II, and celebrates its success in the Britain in Bloom competition.
Craig Skelding, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture, and heritage, said: “The archway is the latest of a series of public artworks celebrating our 850th anniversary. We’re aware that a decorative arch, topped with a crown, framed the entrance to Queens Gardens in the 1960s, and we wanted to recreate that. The final result is excellent and a credit to the apprentices at IAE.”
Chris Morris, learning and development manager at IAE, highlighted the project as an exceptional opportunity for apprentices to demonstrate their real-world skills. He said: “As a company, it’s great to be able to give something back to the local community, and we hope that the people of Newcastle enjoy seeing the structure as they walk through the gardens. I’m sure it’s something the apprentices will remember for the rest of their lives too, and we’re immensely proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Conservative MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, Aaron Bell, said in a Facebook post: “Well done to [apprentices] Jack and Tom for all of their hard work – this is a great piece of engineering that will be enjoyed by residents and visitors for many years to come.”
Derek Mawby Paving Ltd and Newcastle South LAP provided support for the project.