The new First Minister’s Legacy stone, recently sited at Heriot -Watt University, has a Hillfoots connection! The Historic Scotland stone, engraved with the words, “Rocks would melt with the sun before I allow tuition fees to be imposed on Scotland’s students”, was put in place by three employees from Alloa based Marshall Construction.
Building Manager David Coulter from Alva, Jim Drummond, a joiner with the firm from Menstrie, and John Anderson, a labourer, also from Menstrie, were responsible for the groundwork’s leading up to the installation of the stone a few weeks ago at the University. As David explained, the work was carried out at very short notice and had to be done to a strict timescale.
“We received a phone call on Friday 7th November from Stewart King, Building Fabric Manager at Heriot -Watt, to ask if we could start work on the following Monday to prepare the ground ready for the stone being set on the Friday. The First Minister’s visit was already scheduled for the Tuesday 18th November so it was a very tight deadline for a job of that scale.”
“We have a long standing relationship with Heriot -Watt, having carried out a great deal of their building maintenance work for the past six years, “said David.
“Ideally, we would have liked a bit more time to prepare the foundations, which were to be dug to a depth of a metre and a half. With the First Minister’s visit set for the following Tuesday, extra time was simply not an option. We started work immediately and worked through the whole week, encountering bad weather along the way which caused us to be soaked to the skin on the Friday when we finished the project.”
As David explained, the short timescale was problematic for pouring in concrete to the foundations which normally would have longer to set. “We had to pour the concrete in on the Wednesday afternoon and as it had less time than normal to set, we added a curing concrete with special additives. It had to cure for two to three days before the timber shutters could be removed.”
“It was very much a team effort, “finished David. “Even Stewart joined us on site on the Friday and also got very wet – but we all pulled together and I would like to thank Jim and John for all their hard work.”
David and his team also helped with the actual installation of the stone into the foundations, which was also carried out by Historic Scotland representatives and staff from Heriot -Watt themselves.
Said Stewart King from Heriot -Watt: “We would like to thank Marshall Construction for their hard work on this task. David, Jim and John are a fantastic credit to the company, a pleasure and a joy to work with. They are very hardworking guys.
“It was with great pride that we managed to meet the deadline. When the First Minister unveiled the legacy stone, it was a great success.” he added.