The arrival of St. George’s Day has given Neaco pause to reflect on the iconic English projects which have specified our products. We’ve notched up an impressive list, from heritage buildings and royal appointments to arenas of sport and television – here are seven of our most famous…
Few buildings are more instantly recognisable as an English icon than Buckingham Palace. It’s one of England’s most popular tourist destinations, with around 50,000 visitors a year, and has served as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837. The architectural stats are certainly impressive in scale: its 775 rooms include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The building is 108 metres wide, 120 metres deep and 24 metres high. Neaco’s balustrade and aluminium decking have been installed for a wheelchair access ramp and the latest phase of redevelopment includes our roof access walkways.
As one of the world’s most famous department stores and another London landmark, Harrods boasts some eye-catching stats which are almost as impressive as Buckingham Palace’s. Its 5-acre site in Knightsbridge has 330 departments covering one million square feet (90,000 m2) of retail space and 27 restaurants. Harrods has come a long way from its humble origins in 1824, when Charley Henry Harrod set up the original shop in Southwark. In 1851 he relocated to a small shop in the district of Brompton, on the site of the current store. Harrod’s son Charles Digby Harrod built the business into a thriving operation selling medicines, perfumes, stationery, fruits and vegetables. Harrods rapidly expanded and acquired the adjoining buildings. Today the store attracts discerning shoppers from around the world in search of the finest products in food, fashion, homeware and technology. Neaco supplied stainless steel balustrade on stairwells as part of a refurbishment programme at Harrods.
Wimbledon Centre Court
Watching tennis with a punnet of strawberries and cream is an English summer tradition that is recognised across the globe. Every July, the sporting world turns its attention to SW19 in London for the Wimbledon Championship which dates back to 1877. Wimbledon’s Centre Court is the world’s most famous tennis court and one of the most famous venues in any sport. Unfortunately, wet weather is another English summer tradition, causing delays to the playing schedule almost every year, but in 2009 a retractable roof was introduced at Centre Court to protect against the inevitable periods of rain. Neaco’s aluminium grating systems were specified as ventilation grilles for the retracting roof.
The Tower of London
Located on the north bank of the River Thames, The Tower of London has played a famously prominent role in English history and controlling this strategic castle has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England. It is now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by tourists from across the world. Neaco’s aluminium grilles have been specified for access and maintenance walkways for various parts of the castle’s grounds and buildings.
Located in Berkshire, Windsor Castle is home to The Queen and boasts over 900 years of Royal history. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror in order to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames. Since the time of Henry I, Windsor Castle has been used by the reigning monarch and is now the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, who created extravagant Baroque interiors that are still widely admired today. Neaco’s aluminium grilles have been specified for access walkways across various parts of the castle’s estate.
Not every English icon on our list is about Royalty, posh punnets and luxury shopping. We’re also doffing our (flat) cap to a place where you’re unlikely to hear the Queen’s English too often: the northern setting of Coronation Street. Set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, with a real-life set based in Salford, the evergreen soap opera has been running since 1960. It remains a firm fixture of the TV schedules and is watched by millions across the country. One of Neaco’s products became part of the most famous street on British television when we were asked to fit a grab rail outside one of the houses.
A short drive and a quick channel hop from Coronation Street is Media City in Salford Quays, home to another English institution – the BBC. Okay, okay, we can hear you loudly protesting – the British Broadcasting Corporation is actually a British institution (the clue’s in the title), but there’s no denying that the BBC is renowned for some quintessentially English output, from acclaimed period dramas such as Pride & Prejudice and crime series such as Sherlock to the timeless comedy of Blackadder. Since 1951 the BBC has been broadcasting The Archers, the world’s longest-running radio soap opera and a symbol of rural English life which remains incredibly popular. Today the BBC’s wide ranging and highly engaging schedule of programming reflects the fantastically rich cultural and ethnic diversity which England now represents. Media City was developed when the BBC signalled its intention to move jobs to Manchester in 2004. Neaco’s balustrade was installed on an internal stairwell within the main BBC tower building and our aluminium open grille systems were specified as the flooring for the unique footbridge which links Media City to The Imperial War Museum of the North.