JMS's Liver Bird flies into the Structural Awards Final

October 29, 2018 News

Flying high for Liverpool

You may remember us telling you we were involved with one of the Liverbirds?

Well we’re proud to announce that this particular bird has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Midlands Counties Structural Awards.

These awards are run and awarded by IStructE – the Institute for Structural Engineers – each year for innovative engineering achievements throughout the Midlands.

Past winners have included The Engineering Building at the University of Leicester; The RSC ‘The Other Place’ Theatre; and Birmingham City University – so we are in good company.

Emma’s Prize Bird
Making a flying visit to Andy Kenyon, JMS Midlands

Renowned artist Emma Rogers has already left her mark on the city of Liverpool with several other Liver Birds adorning local landmarks as well as her statue of Cilla Black (another Liverbird) standing outside the Cavern Club.

So when she (Emma not Cilla, bless her) was tasked with designing her most ambitious Liver Bird yet, she knew she wanted to honour one of the city’s most celebrated toy makers, Frank Hornby on whose former factory site the bird was to fly.

The former Hornby Meccano factory had been cleared for the vast, new and impressive Liverpool Shopping Park which would become home for the biggest Liver Bird in the world – Emma’s.

Her design was based on Hornby’s best loved Meccano which, for many engineers of a certain age, would have been their first foray into the world of construction.

Emma’s designs called for Meccano pieces of a much larger scale to the originals!

Building the Bird

To turn this ambitious design into reality, she briefed Art Fabrication’s Andy Langley with the task of designing the giant Meccano pieces required to construct the bird.

With the scale of the project as large and unusual as this, Andy turned to the JMS Midlands team to engineer the structure and create the stylish plinth on which the amazing work would stand.


“It’s a real honour to be involved in this beautiful celebration of Liverpool’s history and culture,” said JMS’s Andy Kenyon.

“And we are delighted that the finished product has been earmarked for such a highly respected industry award. 7 tonnes of steel and 1,000 hours of metalworking would encapsulate Emma’s phenomenal designs. We are all over the moon that we were able to do justice to the project.”


As Emma herself said: “They really captured the intricacies of my design and translated my artistic vision whilst perfectly retaining the character of the bird on such a huge scale.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Should you visit Liverpool Shopping Park, you will be greeted by an 11 meter tall Meccano-inspired Liver Bird who, if you’re lucky, will give you a rendition of Cilla Black’s ‘Step Inside Love’.

Wings crossed for Emma and the Team

Being part of a project that breaks records, adds to the culture of a city and celebrates the favourite ‘toy’ for many generations of young engineers, is a great honour for JMS. Now, having that work shortlisted for an award by our own peers is even more amazing.


Whatever the result – when they are announced on 16th November at the Birmingham Council House, Victoria Square – we wish Emma, Andy at Art Fabrication and our Midlands Team the best of luck.

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