Work to restore a war memorial in Halifax – one of only two of its design in the world – has started.
Friends of West View Park led the campaign for the grade II listed monument in the park at Highroad Well to be repaired and restored, supported by residents and ward councillors.
Only two war memorials in the world share the attractive design and the other is on the other side of the world, in Hobart, Tasmania
The Halifax memorial commemorates 73 local soldiers who fell in the Boer Wars of 1880-1 and 1899-1902, and was unveiled in 1904, an elaborate stone structure, complete with bronze tablets, a polished granite stage and a bronze figure of a soldier.
But in more recent years, in addition to general weathering, the monument has been subjected to vandalism with one bronze commemorative plaque stolen and another damaged.
The latter incident led to removal of plaques and their storage for safekeeping, while locally the pressure to keep the project moving while sourcing funding to meet estimated overall restoration costs of £100,000 was put on Calderdale Council who have responded positively.
Warley ward councillor James Baker, who is leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council, said he was “over the moon” the work was beginning.
“I raised this issue when I was first elected in 2012 and have questioned the progress at meetings of the council, so I am very pleased work is now under way.
“The memorial is to be cleaned, re-pointed and the bronze plaques re-instated.
“I would like to thank the council officers involved with this, and all those who worked on a bid to the War Memorials Trust.
“That bid was successful and will be used to fund further cleaning and restoration, after the council has completed its initial work.
“War memorials such as this are very important and need to be maintained as a reminder to all of us of the sacrifice of others,” he said.
Earlier this year, when the council agreed to provide around £15,000 for the restoration of the memorial’s plaques, Ian Hey of Friends of West View Park said restoration was a key aim at the group’s foundation and they were in touch with the authorities in Tasmania about their memorial.
He said it was important Halifax did not forget about the ultimate sacrifice made by the 73 people and stressed the longer it was left, the more it would deteriorate.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden), explained in February that as a listed memorial specialist work had to be carried out under special consent which had to be obtained before restoration could start.
The council had worked with the Friends group to explore restoration options.
Now work to restore it to its former glory has begun.