The steel structure is the work of Manchester-based artist Jonathan Woolfenden, and has been a familiar local landmark outside the factory on Collyhurst Road for 22 years.
Representing ‘emergence’, the vessel, nicknamed “The Dreadnowt,” is based on the Dreadnought battleships that were an integral weapon for The Royal Navy’s military fleets throughout World War One.
Woolfenden’s sculpture was first constructed at a workshop on Collyhurst Road. Once completed, a team from HMG Paints pushed the finished vessel to its current proud position emerging from the ground outside the factory.
Established in 1930 by Herbert Falder, the company has continued to produce coatings products on site in Collyhurst. Ownership and management has stayed within the family, and today, under the Chairmanship of Herbert’s son, Brian Falder, HMG is recognised as the UK’s largest independent industrial paints manufacturer.
HMG has a history of experiencing the harsh realities of surviving through periods of conflict, as the company continued to produce paints, solvents and adhesives throughout the Second World War. Many employees joined the armed forces to fight for their country, leaving HMG with a skeleton staff of inexperienced teenagers. Throughout the war, these young men kept the factory alive by manufacturing, packaging and delivering paint across the region.
Throughout the fighting and bombing during the First World War, poppies continued to grow on the battlefields of Western Europe. As a result, the poppy has become a symbol for the beauty and resilience that still flourished in the middle of this chaos and devastation.
To honor the sacrifices made by brave Service men and women, HMG Paints will proudly keep the poppy design emblazoned on the battleship until November 2018, marking a century since the end of World War One.
HMG Paints’ managing director, John Falder, strongly believes in the importance of remembering the brave men and women that have fought for their country. “At HMG, we wanted to create a solemn yet eye-catching tribute to honour the incredible sacrifices made throughout both the World Wars. Many of our employees have family members and friends currently serving in the armed forces and we believe it is important to show our support. We hope that people travelling along Collyhurst Road over the next four years, see our poppy design and take a moment to reflect”.