Horsham Company Commissioned For Platinum Jubilee Celebrations

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in 1855, based in Horsham, West Sussex. In 2022, the company remains independent and family-run, now with a further three offices across the county in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint. In addition to funeral services, the business supplies and fits stonework memorials, thanks to sister company, J. […]

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Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in 1855, based in Horsham, West Sussex. In 2022, the company remains independent and family-run, now with a further three offices across the county in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint. In addition to funeral services, the business supplies and fits stonework memorials, thanks to sister company, J. Gumbrill. Annissa shares some recent accomplishments by the team in honour of a special celebration…

Throughout 2021, we worked with Freeman Brothers to deliver two memorials to mark how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our communities. These were installed in March 2022, and unveiled on the National Day of Reflection, 23rd March. Something we all really enjoyed about the project was how much free rein we had in creating the design – usually, we are commissioned to complete stones on behalf of external customers, so the design choice is partly down to them, and partly in compliance with regulations laid out by the place where the stone will be installed. Churchyard regulations in particular can be quite restrictive, so it was great to have more freedom.

However, it was never our intention to create something completely wild – the stones we’ve completed are aligned with the J. Gumbrill and Freeman Brothers brands, as well as being appropriate for the occasion and fitting in with the environments where they’re situated.

As soon as they were unveiled, I received messages from other parties interested in two more projects which they wanted to complete quite quickly – these pieces were to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The first request was for a stone to be paired with a tree which had been planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project. The aim of this is to plant a tree in honour of Her Majesty, creating a legacy which will hopefully endure for decades beyond her reign. A lime tree was planted in Horsham park in March, and the Royal British Legion had procured a plaque made of recycled metal. They were then looking to have it set on a stone, and installed by the tree.

We suggested a piece of Horsham Stone, in order to maintain the ethos of sustainability, and have a further nod to our local area. Horsham Stone wears well and, as this stone would be beneath a tree, we knew that this would be important. Our team attached the plaque and ensured that the stone was properly fitted via a concrete base which has been dug into the ground.

The design of the plaque is simple yet effective. As the plaque had already been completed without our help, we were able to turn this piece around quickly, and have it installed in good time for the Jubilee weekend.

The second piece which was commissioned is now in pride of place in Horsham’s Carfax, having been unveiled on the first day of Jubilee celebrations. The design was again already prepared, as the official Platinum Jubilee logo was to be used – our craftsman, Paul, cut the design into the stone, as well as cutting metalwork to be set into it. Once the elements came together, I think you’ll agree that it’s a striking piece and a lovely permanent tribute to the Queen’s ongoing reign.

As with the stone which we installed in Horsham park, our colleague Richard was also able to lay the stone in the Carfax in time for the Jubilee weekend, where I know it’s already been admired by many passers by.

It is important to note that stones typically take a lot longer to organise – I’ve discussed the process via our blog before, and an outline is worth sharing again. As I mentioned earlier, we usually help to create bespoke stonework. Each one is different not just due to the name which is going on it, but also the shape and style of the stone, other inscription work, and which type of stone is chosen.

Once these decisions have been made and the customer has approved the design, the design must then be approved by those in charge of the land – often the minister or diocese for a churchyard, or those who maintain a cemetery. This can take some time, although I always aim to achieve this as soon as possible. The stone itself will typically be ordered in from abroad – COVID has had a significant impact on stone transportation, as many of them come from China, so it’s the time taken for it to be quarried and then shipped to the UK.

When the stone arrives, it’s over to our letter cutters to get the inscription done and, once all of this is finished, our memorial mason will fit the stone in position. I can then let you know that it’s ready! It’s normal for this full process to take six months, and this is why the Jubilee stones have been completed faster – the designs were decided; those making the decisions were also my customers in this situation; and the stone wasn’t being shipped in from overseas.

In addition to the above, for burial plots, it’s important to let the grave settle following the burial, before we install a stone, as otherwise the ground would be unsafe.

If there is a specific date for which you’d like your stone to be in place, we can discuss this when you place your order, and the team and I will always do our best to make it happen. If we think a realistic timeframe is available, we will aim to meet your wishes, however it’s just not possible to go from a design to a finished bespoke stone in a short space of time. We understand that this is an important purchase for you, and would much rather have something that you are happy with than something which has been rushed.

If you’d like to discuss stonework further, please do get in touch with us. And let us know what you think if you see our work for the jubilee stones in Horsham!

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Written by Annissa Zitouni

Monumental Masonry Administrator

June 15, 2022

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