The making of the Les Miserables

25th Anniversary

Commemorative Bronze Plaque

We were delighted when Newman Displays Ltd approached us in 2010 about producing a new bronze plaque commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Les Miserables, the world's longest running musical. The plaque unveiling performed by actors Matt Lucas, Alfie Boe and the show's producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh took place on 23d February 2011 at the Queen's Theatre in the West End of London.

The commemorative bronze plaque celebrating the 25th anniversary of Les Miserables, the world's longest running musical.

The following article explains how we helped Newman Displays in the planning stage and how we produced the finished pavement plaque.

The planning stage involved deciding on the material and dimensions of the plaque. We agreed the plaque would be made from sand cast foundry bronze. The diameter of the plaque was 600mm (24 inches). Although based on one situated on Broadway, New York we were confident that our new plaque would capture the look of the original whilst being unique. This traditionally cast bronze plaque is not only hard-wearing and weather proof. Also the hand-crafting brought out individual colour and texture details not found in a machine made or engraved plaque. This worked especially well with the style of the artwork.

"We were commissioned by Cameron Mackintosh Limited to create a commemorative bronze plaque for the 25th Anniversary of Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre in the heart of the West End, we turned to Carl Huxley at Specialist Metalwork Skills to get this iconic installation created. From initial discussions through to the on time and on budget installation of the piece Carl and his team guided us through the process and delivered a truly stunning end result".

Mark Hollington, Newman Displays Ltd.

The black areas on the original artwork by the client would become the recessed parts on the plaque. Getting these details reproducible was important because the Les Miserables logo is so well known. It was vital that we preserved the integrity of their world famous brand. We made sure their design was not compromised by limitations of the sand casting process. We worked around those by thoughtful, well planned pattern design and some hand chasing metalwork on the final casting. The plaque design was not just about asthetics. We also had to consider safety and risk issues.

The client planned on installing the plaque outside a busy theatre in a prominent position in central London. With expected high footfall, the client and Westminster City Council were concerned about slip and trip hazards. To address these issues the design included the following features:

  • The logo and type are recessed rather than raised as in a traditional wall mounted plaque.
  • The recessed areas were painted with a black anti-slip paint.
  • The finish of the exposed bronze was polished to a satin finish assuring more grip underfoot in those areas.
  • The exposed bronze was left uncoated lessening slip hazard risks.

With these design features the plaque design was approved by the client and Westminster City Council.

A great deal of planning went into the plaque design. This was worthwhile because once we got the go-ahead the plaque was made and delivered in three weeks, on budget and in plenty of time for Newman Displays client's unveiling schedule.

Interested in commisioning a bronze commemorative plaque? Please get in touch by telephoning 01274 572240 or leaving your details on the Bronze Commemorative Plaque Enquiry Form and we will get back to you shortly.