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The Crewe Jigsaw Project

The picture above shows Mike, Di, artist David and the maquette of the 60ft long Jigsaw, used to sell the concept to Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody MP and to all the various sponsors and participants.


Click here to see some photographs

Click here to see list of sponsors

Click here to see our splendid Jigsaw website













Bringing the pieces together!
In May 2001, David Jewkes, Mike Chandler and Diane Davy conceived a Vision. They wanted to create a spectacular work of art for a public space in Crewe and Nantwich where they live, for all to see and to think about. Most particularly, they wanted to engage the enthusiasm and commitment of the young people of the Borough, and encourage them to think about the heritage of their daily surroundings.

Gradually the vision took on the tangible shape of a mural. The first realisation was that the space they wanted it to occupy was the railway station at Crewe, a major gateway into and out of the area, but also a significant interchange for people travelling all over the country, or heading overseas via the North West Region’s airports.

To Mike and Diane with backgrounds as engineers who have also contributed significantly to the work of the engineering profession, the technological heritage of the area was a rich source of interest and delight.

At a meeting of Headteachers of the area’s secondary schools in the autumn of that year, they presented a brief which asked their pupils to create designs for the mural which took as its theme the technological heritage of the borough through their eyes, past, present and looking forward. The schools, along with art students at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Alsager Campus and also residents of the Crewe YMCA, rose amazingly to the challenge. On 3 December they handed over their 75 designs, created on huge sheets of cardboard, at an event held at the Crewe Alexandra FC, in the presence of the Mayor of Crewe and Nantwich and his wife.

From that point onwards the project gathered momentum, taking the energy released by the excitement generated by that day and building on it. The format of the mural evolved into a jigsaw puzzle of 75 pieces, signifying the interlocking activities and commitments of all those who gradually became enmeshed in the project’s needs. It was decided to machine the jigsaw pieces from sheet steel, with local manufacturers coming to the rescue to create the computer design to make machining possible, to undertake the sophisticated laser cutting of the pieces, and to treat them to make them rust-proof.

Then it was down to David! He had been working with the schools’ designs for several months until the pieces were ready to work with and at the beginning of April he started painting the pieces for real. Once engrossed in the task, he worked to finish the painting in an astonishing month of activity, meeting his project-imposed deadline.

One issue which had caused the biggest headache once the pieces were made was how to finalise the method of installation. The 2.5m high Jigsaw was to be installed on the full length of a 20m long wall of the main corridor joining platforms at the station, and in such a way that it could be demounted for its safety should the station ever undergo renovation. Again, local business came to the rescue, with an engineering company fabricating the designs created by a local engineer for a unique method of installation. The Jigsaw was then installed by the station’s own contractors.

All the way down the line, it has been local businesses and individuals who have made the project work. Everyone who has engaged with the project and become the sponsors for each of the Jigsaw’s 75 massive pieces has given a service, materials, done a piece of work, or given money to buy any missing elements. Without all of them, this project would not have happened, and they are all owed a great debt of gratitude for their support and vital encouragement.
Fundamental to this project has been the conviction that every single sponsor, whatever the level of their input, has come to this as an equal partner, to ensure that even the smallest business or group of traders or individuals could afford to sponsor a piece in a way appropriate to their resources, alongside the big organisations.

With the Jigsaw installed, it was time to celebrate such a wonderful community-wide project. On Friday 14 June 2002, an unveiling ceremony was held, with the honours undertaken by MP for the Borough, Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, Chairman of the Commons Select Committee for Transport. Representatives of all those involved in the project were there to congratulate themselves on their achievement; schools, businesses, local authorities and organisations, and of course, the press. At the event, the Borough Council in the person of the Mayor accepted Stewardship of the Jigsaw, to ensure lasting care for this unique work of art, as something to be cherished.

Click here to see some photographs

Click here to see list of sponsors

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