Welwyn Garden City man creates amazing scale model of Notre Dame cathedral - out of matchsticks

PUBLISHED: 15:59 17 March 2019

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

A Welwyn Garden City man estimates he has used 10,000 matchsticks creating a stunning three-foot-long scale model of Notre Dame cathedral.

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

Ex-Army tank driver David Harding, who used to live in Kilburn, said he started the hobby to relax after work.

Over the years, the 73-year-old has completed mini versions of Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and a steamship.

The latest model has taken a year from start to finish, and he estimates he’s spent over 1,200 hours at work on it.

“I spend about four hours a day, six days a week on it,” he said. “I have a couple of days off, but halfway through the day I start making them again.”

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

He dropped the hobby for a few years, but after a septic stroke about two years ago he found himself with limited mobility and a lot of time on his hands.

“I’m just sitting here in my armchair all day watching telly,” he said. “So I thought, I’ll do a matchstick model again.”

He gets his ideas from things he sees on the TV. “I think: ‘I could make that out of matchsticks’. So I make a plan.

“You can make anything out of matches if you see something you like.”

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

He particularly likes churches, as he likes doing the spires.

“You’ve got to be dedicated and have a lot of patience,” he said, adding that his grandchildren are more interested in social media than in the time-consuming work of model making.

He said he’s motivated to continue in the mammoth task by wanting to see what the finished article looks like.

To construct the model, he orders special matches at around £2 for 1,000.

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

“They’re a bit bigger than ordinary matches,” he said. “They’re cheap enough.”

He uses special tools to finish the intricate work, as well as plain lacquer to stop discolouration.

Over the years he thinks he’s used at least a million matches in his creations.

He doesn’t make money from his creations, but once rented a model of Tower Bridge out to a film company.

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

However, he said that some craftspeople in America are making a living out of it.

The work that goes into it, he said, would mean he’d have to charge a lot of money to sell them.

His next projects lined up are a bungalow and a life-size violin.

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

David Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOODavid Harding enjoys making matchstick models is working here on a cottage and has just completed a model of Notre Dame after a year of work. Picture: DANNY LOO

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