The trustees were keen to offer meaningful training opportunities to young people, so the bulk of the work was carried out by trainee masons at Vauxhall College of Building and Ashby & Horner Stonemasonry Ltd, with assistance from the Carpenters' Company Building Craft College in Great Titchfield Street. It became one of the largest youth training projects in the UK for many years. This meant that aspects of the project took a little more time. The one tonne dialstone had to be made three times to ensure 100% accuracy of the dials faces, without which the gnomens would not cast accurate shadows and so the sundials would not be accurate.
Trainee masons making the Masonic symbol.
Trainee Tom Flemmon carving the one tonne dialstone.
The process started with making full size templates from the architect's 40-foot high paper drawings. The full size drawings enabled full size sections and bed moulds to be produced. The bed moulds for the horizontal sections were made from card paper and for the vertical sections from thin zinc sheet. They were applied to the vertical faces by the mason to give the basic line shapes as a form of template. Apart from the three shaft stones of the column, the pillar was made largely by hand as it would have been in 1693/4, using traditional wooden mallets to drive fine sharp steel tools. Machines were only used for the larger stones to cut the clocks for the outline shapes. The Pillar was made from Whitebed, one of the finest natural beds of Portland stone. This was chosen for its weathering qualities and for the ease of working some of the finer details.
Trainees Scott Richardson, Susanne Ower, Mark Haydon and David Adamson.
Trainees and Ashby & Horner staff.
Trainees Scott Meekes, Jose Batten and Damon Crouch, Vauxhall College.
Staff and trainees.
Phillip Brandt working on capitol stone.
Jose Brandt working on Capitol stone.
One tonne dialstone ready for carving of dial faces.
John Lawson working on the obelisk stone.
Sections of the Sundial Pillar.
Mechanical stone cutting.
Hand cutting stone.
The trainee masons being presented to HM Queen Beatrix and Prince Claus at the Unveiling Ceremony on the Dials.