Forging a Green Icon in Deptford..and it’s not the Hulk!
It is the 19th Century and the shipbuilding industry across the UK is booming. In London, the dockyards are building the ships which will help make Britain the world’s largest economic powerhouse. It is Deptford which plays an essential role in the shipbuilding process, as the area’s foundries supply essential components needed to build ships.
Fast forward more than one hundred years. Deptford still hosts inlets of industry, which reflect the area’s rich past, such as London Bronze Casting; a foundry situated next to our Deptford Foundry development.
Deptford Foundry itself is located on the site of a former metal foundry (hence the name), which we are immensely proud of. To celebrate its history and legacy, we have launched the Green Man project together with London Bronze Casting.
We recently caught up with Tom from London Bronze Casting to find out more about the project and the history of the area.
Hi Tom, thanks for speaking with us. Can you explain what the Green Man project is?
The Green Man project is a special and eye-catching sculpture being designed and fabricated by us especially for Anthology’s Deptford Foundry development.
The brief was to create a unique piece which pays homage to the important historical connections to Foundry work in Deptford.
Design work commenced in early 2018, and we are now in the process of forging the sculpture, which is currently being cast and it is due to be unveiled in the Spring of 2019.
What is the story behind the Green Man – who is he and how did he gain this nickname?
The sculpture has adopted the name as a direct reference to many of the workers that would have worked with bronze and copper and would end their working day covered in foundry grime. Particles of bronze on their heads and hands would be oxidized by their sweat, leaving their skin with a green tinge.
This sculpture has been based upon Bill Waldren, one of the employees who worked at the nearby foundry, who has earned the nickname locally as ‘The Green Man’. The Green Man is also a name referenced in folklore and represents a symbol of re-birth and the cycle of spring.
How does the site of Deptford Foundry relate to the maritime history of the surrounding area?
Deptford Foundry used to be the site of Stones Foundry, which can be traced back to 1830, when the foundry cast copper nails for the shipbuilding industry in Greenwich. Their product range eventually expanded to include rivets, propellers and other engineering supplies.
The Green Man sculpture will be a monument to this old technology with the figure holding onto two traditional impellers, which were traditionally made at the foundry.
The casting is truly ground-breaking, as the sculpture is digitally formed through 3D scanning and polygon sculpting; it has been cast using PMMA 3D printing- a new product within the foundry industry.
The process of creating the sculpture really symbolises traditional and modern technologies to pay tribute to the foundry workers and serves as a contemporary totem, which recognises the foundry’s rich legacy.
What draws you to Deptford?
The volume of artists and designers in Deptford really draws us to the area. It’s great to see that Anthology is supporting the arts in Deptford, having recently also exchanged contracts with Second Floor Studios for affordable studio space.
If you love history and culture, then Discover Deptford Foundry today.
To find out more about London Bronze Casting, visit their website.