Clarendon Primary School Steel Safety Barrier Project

•    completed Summer 2015
•    budget £14,000.00
•    commissioned by Clarendon Primary School, Bolton, Lancashire
•    fabricated and installed by Luke Lister Blacksmiths of Stockport


Y5 Creative Kids at Clarendon Primary

The brief for this project was to construct an 20 linear metre steel safety barrier along the top of the outside stairway wall at Clarendon Primary School.

In keeping with the welcoming nature of the school and its contemporary architecture, the inspired headteacher recognised that this was an opportunity for a public art commission as part of which pupils might work with a professional artist to add something special.

Over the course of a few days, groups of pupils joined me for design workshops to determine the content for the barrier and to make artworks that could be reproduced in steel by the blacksmiths. I prepared hundreds of card strips so that we could use an improvised version of the ‘quilling’ craft technique. Other artworks were produced by forming wire into shape. Both methods were equally popular and the results were stunning.

A drawing was faithfully created of each and every artwork produced and then these drawings were used to compose both the separate panels and the overall design for the barrier.


I produced full size templates for Luke Lister and then their hard work began transforming the designs into steel. I popped in a few times to see how they were progressing and assist as required. Once the panels were finished and galvanised, Jane Dodds and I set to work getting them all painted.

The whole school community was absolutely delighted with the finished results…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos of the finished work are all by Vincent Abbey.