Tutbury War Memorial Preservation Project
The Stone Cross War Memorial at St. Mary’s Priory Church, Tutbury, Staffordshire, is in need of preservation. With most of the mortar missing, dirt, lichen, failed earlier repairs and an apparent lean, it is essential that the Memorial receives attention so that it continues to remain as a memorial to the sacrifice of men from the village in WWI and WWII. Photographs of the Memorial’s problems can be seen in the Picasa Web album here.
The Tutbury War Memorials Preservation Committee (TWMPC) has taken on the task in the form of the Tutbury War Memorial Preservation Project (TWMPP). The description of the full project can be read here.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Monday March 17th 2014, Phase I of the project started. We had received confirmation of funding (jut for Phase I) from East Staffordshire Borough Council (obtained via Cllr Liz Staples, supported by Cllr Stephen Smith) and from the War Memorials Trust during the previous month. Confirmation of the funding enabled us to give the go ahead to our chosen firm of Conservation Architects, Smith and Roper of Bakewell.
Although this is the start of visible activity regarding the Memorial, it is the culmination of over a year’s preparatory work comprising some 600 hours of effort by the members of the Committee, creating the website, defining the project, selecting a suitable firm of Conservation Architects and obtaining funding.
Phase I is the assessment of the state of the Memorial consisting of the following:
- An inspection survey
- Measured survey & photographic survey
- Condition survey report including recommendations (expected in June)
- Specification of Works and Drawings
Phase I will cost £3,852 (incl. VAT) which will be paid for by the ESBC and WMT grants.
The Specification of Works will enable the project to:
- Obtain permission for the work (Phase II, the preservation) to be done from the Diocesan Advisory Council, English Heritage and East Staffordshire Borough Council
- Obtain quotes for the work and hence determine the cost
- Select a contractor
- Raise the necessary funds to get the work done, probably in 2015.
The assessment team was led by Richard Smith RIBA AABC of Smith and Roper, with Adrian Dempster, structural engineer, of Ward Cole Consulting Engineers, Frasier Andrew, restoration specialist, from AJ Restoration and James Brennan of James Brennan Associates, chartered surveyors, doing the measured survey. The Remembrance Day wreaths were temporarily removed and scaffolding was erected so that the Memorial could be examined from top to bottom. The scaffolding has now gone and the wreaths are back.
The verbal report during the assessment indicated that the work is needed, it will be reasonablyextensive but none the less it will be routine for specialist conservation companies. We await the considered written report for the “specification of work” that will define what needs to be done; this will of course be published on this website, hopefully in June.
We hope that the preservation work will be completed in time for a Rededication Ceremony on 1st July 2016, the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Six men from Tutbury died that day (including the youngest, 17 year old Tom Merrey), and a further nine died during the remainder of that Somme offensive (1 July to 18 Nov 1916); all fifteen are remembered on the Memorial. Details of the 1st day or the Somme, as encountered by men of the 1/6th North Staffordshire Regiment, can be found on the website www.gommecourt.co.uk
While we have a long way to go before the Memorial is preserved, we have, at last, started!
The Committee would like to thank the Rev Ian Whitehead and the Parochial Church Council of St. Mary’s for their help and support.