Company goes in search of life after the Mogul palace: Fresh financial backing needed for a firm with a reputation cast in stone

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A MANUFACTURER of reconstructed stone, which beat off competition from Indian master craftsmen to re-create a 16th-century Mogul palace, is fighting for survival as the project nears completion.

The firm, Tradelaw, was formed after Empire Stone, of Narborough, Leicestershire, which won the original contract, went into receivership three months ago. Patterson Fenton-Jones, the architects creating the palace, could not find a replacement firm able to do the intricate work required. Instead, they acquired equipment, a lease on a third of the site and a fifth of the workforce to carry on the project.

Tradelaw is now talking to banks and venture capitalists to secure funds to help it search for work to replace the Mogul palace contract, which is likely to be completed early next year.

Empire Stone won the work after Patterson Fenton-Jones concluded that hand-carving by Indian master craftsmen would not give the quality and precision needed for the interlocking pieces.

The great house and garden, for an unnamed customer, is being created in jigsaw-type pieces - 180 for the walled garden alone - and shipped off to a secret location.

Tradelaw produces the panels based on moulds created by Stevensons, a Norwich manufacturer of fibrous plastic mouldings. These are filled with crushed stone and cement to give the required colour and texture.

The architects said that other companies offering a similar service could not match the detail and quality provided by Tradelaw.

(Photograph omitted)