For stonemason Gavin Poyner, stonework in any scale has been a labour of love since he was a teen growing up in a village in Wiltshire. As a student he excelled at technical drawing and left school at sixteen to attend the local college in Swindon to study fine art. Unfortunately his love of sculpture was not offered as part of the curriculum so Gavin decided to contact a stonemason in London about a job.
J. Bysouth Ltd. was one of the last remaining family-run architectural stonemasons in London, and they soon got the idea that he wanted to become an apprentice. It was during his first visit to them that he realised it was a job interview! So, age 17, he moved to the Big Smoke, found some digs, and began learning his craft. Gavin served his apprenticeship as a banker mason in the stone yard, a term borrowed from the French masonry trade describing a mason who works at a bench. By the time he was 22 he had been promoted to shop foreman, and at 25 struck out on his own, opening a business that specialised in marble fireplace restoration. His business soon grew to creating custom fireplaces and architectural stonework with such notable projects as reproductions of Adams’ fireplaces for properties in Fitzroy and Bedford Square, and restoration work for Buckingham Palace.