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Ark Stained Glass complete Titanic memorial window and Queens Jubilee Tower

In April last year, members of the British Titanic Society and visitors to their 30th annual convention were the first to view the design for a memorial window, to be installed in St Mary’s Church in Southampton.

Designed by stained glass artist Louise Hemmings of Hereford-based Ark Stained Glass Ltd, the design was originally part of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers’ Stevens Competition for 2016. The brief was to design a window for St Mary’s to commemorate the crew of The Titanic, most of who came from Southampton.

The church was the venue for a memorial service for those who died in the disaster, held shortly after the sinking. Louise Hemmings’s design was chosen by the church for the window. The installation has been funded by a special fundraising campaign led by John Creamer of the British Titanic Society.

The actor David Warner, who appeared in two versions of the movie Titanic, backed the fundraising. The Cunard Line generously contributed to the cost.

Entrants of the competition were asked to incorporate in their work a quotation from the Old Testament Song of Songs, “Many Waters Cannot Quench Love”, together with the emblem of the White Star Line – the company that owned the ship.

Louise Hemmings’s design features an angel holding the stern post and flag, together with a long ribbon with the words 'The Crew'.

Her intention was to convey the significance of the sheer volume of the number of crew who perished and this is illustrated by the 687 orbs - one for each member of the crew. Louise explained: “This number is hard to visualise until you see the window and all those orbs together. I also wanted to give the audience reassurance by including the angel, guiding the orbs up through the window. The angel represents hope and that these souls are being looked after and are at peace.”

The design is a combination of traditional stained glass painting and contemporary techniques. That symbolises the fact that the church was bombed during World War Two. Only one corner of the tower survived, with some of the original stained glass, while the rest of the church is new with modern stained glass.

The company designed, cut and hand painted all of glass and the finished window was installed in the church on April 4th 2018.

Queens Jubilee Tower Westminster Abbey

Ark Stained Glass has also completed work last month on the new Queens Jubilee Tower at Westminster Abbey. The work involved the company manufacturing and installing over 600 leaded light traditional windows set into bronze finished steel frames. It is believed to be the largest installation of traditional leaded light windows in the country with over 13,200 panes of glass. It is the first major addition to Westminster Abbey since 1745.

The tower, designed by London Architects Ptolemy Dean, the Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric (Consultant Architect), is outside Poets’ Corner, tucked between the Abbey’s thirteenth century Chapter House and sixteenth century Lady Chapel. The design takes inspiration from a pattern often found in the Abbey: a star shape derived from two rotating squares. Built using a mix of traditional and new materials, the tower is sympathetic to the Abbey’s building style.

The Queen will open the Tower on June 11th.

Tony O Donnell, the company's managing director, emphasised that although these two projects are key to their success, the company still prides itself on doing everything from small local work to large contract work.

For further information visit www.arkstainedglass.co.uk

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