Liverpool’s Fleur de Lis.

We were delighted to be asked to tender for a most unusual project in Liverpool.

The architect wanted to recreate the ‘fleur de lis’ design (which appears on the near-by Liver Building) on an external floor sited between an apartment block and set of offices.

The stencils were specially designed to fit the space and the ‘fleur de lis’ pattern was ‘painted’ using an acrylic coating. The final result is stunning! The picture below shows the project in construction. Blocksil were asked to apply a long lasting anti-graffiti coating over the top of the finished pattern.

Liverpool is a city in North West England, with an estimated population of 500,000. With its surrounding areas, it is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, with over 2.3 million people living there. Liverpool is located on the northern side of the River Mersey. It became a borough in 1207 and a city in 1880. Its growth as a major port was paralleled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution. The port handled general cargo, freight, coal and cotton. The city merchants were also involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In the 19th century it was also a key port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to the United States. Liverpool was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line and was the port of registry of the ocean liners Titanic, Lusitania and Queen Mary. In recent times the city’s fame derives from music and football.

The fleur-de-lis (a French phrase, fleur means “flower”, and lis means “lily”) is used as a decorative design or symbol. Many of the saints are often depicted with a lily, most prominently St. Joseph.

While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context. It remains an enduring symbol of France that appears on French postage stamps, although it has never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. According to French historian Georges Duby, the three petals represent the medieval social classes: those who worked, those who fought, and those who prayed.


Partial Fluer de Lis.

Partial completion of the Fluer de Lis artwork.

Nearly complete Fluer de Lis project.

The Fluer de Lis artwork in Liverpool, nearing completion.

Liver Building seen from above the Fluer de Lis project.

View of the Liver Building, Liverpool.


Blocksil is a supplier of specialist coatings to the rail industry.

Our coatings are usually found in the repair workshops, helping the maintenance departments achieve their goals. An example of this activity would be our bellows repair coating.

Bellows are the flexible connectors found between two adjoining passenger carriages. Developed for railway use, these sorts of connectors are also used on buses and trams.
In addition to wear, a common problem with bellows is one of damage, primarily vandalism. Once punctured the bellows naturally cease to be watertight which leads to corrosion of the carriage body.

Any repair to the damaged bellows needs to be permanent and flexible. A significant additional benefit of the Blocksil bellows repair is that it is self-sealing. So should anyone puncture the repair, it will seal itself. This property is not something that can be achieved through adhesive tape repair techniques.

Why repair a bellows rather than re-place it? Cost. The cost of repairing a railway carriage bellows is a fraction of the cost of replacing it, not least as the bellows can remain in situ during the repair process. And the repair technique is easy to follow, so specialist training isn’t needed.

Of course Blocksil can be on hand to give guidance and advice on the repair process if requested as part of our Application Support programme.

This first photograph shows a damaged bellows.

This second photograph shows the repair part way through the process.

This final photograph shows the completed Blocksil repair.

Blocksil’s primary function is the design and development of coating solutions. Occasionally we are also asked to apply the coating solution on site. An industry where we are well known for this complete service package is construction.

Our coating expertise was requested by a new client to help them with a cladding refurbishment. In this instance the exterior GRP cladding on the building had aged and was looking unsightly. Our client was wanting the building cladding recoated to freshen it up as the building was a flagship site. The area to be coated was approximately 5,000 square metres (53, 800 square feet) with a building height of 12 to 15 metres (39 to 49 feet) – the building had an angled profile.

Why did our client contact Blocksil? Because painting over GRP isn’t straightforward. The outer coating applied during manufacture of the GRP panels will repel conventional paint and  the aging would have changed the surface properties of the GRP in a potentially unknown fashion. In addition, the GRP panels were in situ on a working facility, so the only surface preparation that could be used was jet washing and the coating solution needed to be fully controllable to avoid excessive overspray.

Our Chief Technical Director, Chris Knowles, knew the answer. Polyaspartic.

Polyaspartic as a coating resin has been around for about 20 years, but, applying it on to some 5,000 square metres of vertical surface was likely to be a problem because of its viscosity and its short pot life. The pot life is how long the coating will remain useable once mixed. Too short and it will cure within the spray gun. The short pot life and high viscosity of a standard Polyaspartic coating makes it difficult to the point of impossible to spray a 15 metre high building.

Needless to say Chris Knowles was able to organise a reformulation of the chosen Polyaspartic to gain a long enough pot life and a good enough viscosity for the subcontract applicators to apply it.

Is our client happy? Yes. Our ability to give them a one stop shop and back up the coating and workmanship with an insurance backed guarantee has taken a weight off their minds.

With regards to long term durability, Polyaspartics are the next generation of topcoats and should easily exceed ten years colour and gloss retention.

Temple Quay Central is a new mixed use (residential and retail) scheme situated on Bristol’s floating harbour and located close to Temple Meads railway Station.

This Freetank area public art commission is making a distinctive contribution to the development of the area, reinforcing Temple Quay Central as a key destination within the city centre.

Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 450,000 and the metropolitan area is the 12th largest in the United Kingdom. Bristol can trace its roots back to the Iron Age and received a royal charter in 1155. From the 13th to the 18th century, the city was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. It was surpassed by the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in the Industrial Revolution.

Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America.

The city’s modern economy is built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries.

The Freetank area artwork was designed by artist Roger Hiorns with architects Witherford Watson Mann.

UK born Roger Hiorns’ sculptural practice meditates on the act of artistic creation, observing what happens when the process is handed over to reactive, “living” material and its metamorphoses. Many of Hiorns’ three-dimensional projects yield to the autonomous generative properties of his chosen substances to ‘isolate’ objects, to make us conscious of their origins and their contexts.

Witherford Watson Mann architects started twenty years ago with a series of walks through London’s parks. Since then they have approached every project as an open-ended inquiry. By using dialogue and adaptive design they help progressive institutions realise their ambitions and reinforce their values. Making the most of what is already there and adding judiciously to maintain the distinctiveness of each place, they can transform its capacity.

The brickwork in the Freetank area has been enhanced and protected using Blocksil’s anti-graffiti coating and the statues have received a coating of special oil. Blocksil’s coating was chosen because it has demonstrated time and again that it is the coating to use for protecting brickwork against graffiti.

Blocksil – the go to company for specialist coatings.