Forty years is a long time for a steel sculpture but not one that has been hot dip galvanized.
Cast your mind back to July 1969. At the same time that man first walked on the moon, cider producer Bulmers and ornithologist Sir Peter Scott unveiled a new sculpture on Whitecross road, Hereford. The Bulmers Woodpecker.
Bulmers commissioned local Sculptor Walenty Pytel, internationally renowned for his metal bird sculptures, to design and create the piece to celebrate their Woodpecker cider brand. The 600kg and twenty foot high steel sculpture was hot dip galvanized to protect it from corrosion and then painted black for aesthetics.
Forty years on, and despite a few paint jobs over the years, the paint had continued to peel away and the old bird was beginning to look a bit ruffled. As a result of this Bulmers decided that the Woodpecker could do with a complete makeover and contacted local company Hereford Galvanizers Ltd to make the arrangements. Hereford Galvanizers had originally galvanized the sculpture back in 1969 and were all too keen to help. Their first job was to inspect the sculpture and after carrying out some tests discovered that the galvanized zinc coating beneath the peeling paintwork was still sound and would have carried on protecting the steel from corrosion for many years to come.
The steelwork was first removed from its plinth by local crane company Jay and Davies and taken to another local company CSCS to be shotblasted free of the existing flaky paintwork. The steelwork was then hot dip galvanized at Hereford Galvanizers and returned back to CSCS for its paint job before finally being lifted back onto its plinth with Walenty Pytel himself as one of the onlookers.
Harry Turner, Cider Communications Manager for Bulmers, said “The Woodpecker is an iconic and much loved landmark in the Whitecross Road area, where Fred and Percy Bulmer first set up a cider mill over 120 years ago. However, it has been showing its age recently and we thought it was time to give the old bird a bit of a treat, to make sure it’s still welcoming visitors to Hereford in another 40 years”.