Two of Wolverhampton’s war memorials have been returned to their former glory, commemorating the sacrifices made by local people.
The memorials, in Church Road, Pennfields, and at St Michael and All Angels Church in Tettenhall, were erected in memory of those who fought and died in conflict. Over the years they have suffered from wear and tear, with the Tettenhall memorial also sadly subjected to vandalism.
But members of the Bradmore War Memorial Fund and the Tettenhall War Memorial Committee have worked with ward councillors and City of Wolverhampton Council to raise funds to repair and conserve the memorials for future generations.
The Pennfields, Bradmore and Merry Hill war memorial, situated within ornamental gardens opposite St Philips Church, is mounted on a plinth and features a granite soldier holding a rifle bayonet.
Repair work has included stabilising the plinth, mortar repairs, a recasting of the bayonet, installation of a tree root barrier, cleaning of the stonework and repainting the names of those who lost their lives. Works were carried out by Birmingham firm William Parratt Masonry Ltd.
The Tettenhall war memorial, erected in 1920, is a red sandstone cross and shaft mounted on a plinth, with the names of the fallen from both the First and Second World Wars recorded on panels around it. The sandstone has eroded over the years, as well as being subject to vandalism, resulting in damage to both the cross and shaft.
Repair work, undertaken by Cannock-based Croft Building and Conservation Ltd, has seen the sandstone cross replaced, the shaft reinstated with a faithful reproduction, stonework repaired and the memorial cleaned.
Funding for the work came from Grants for War Memorials scheme supported by Historic England. Funding for the Pennfields, Bradmore and Merry Hill war memorial was £6,500 and for Tettenhall was £10,450. The grants covered up to 75% of the cost, with the two groups carrying out fundraising activities to secure the rest.
As the scheme only pays grants on the satisfactory completion of the repair work, it was agreed that the City Council would act as the accountable body on behalf of the two groups, establishing £20,000 capital grants to fund each repair in advance and receiving the grants when the work is finished.
Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment at City of Wolverhampton Council, said:
"The war memorials are very important to the people of Pennfields, Bradmore, Merry Hill and Tettenhall. I would like to recognise the hard work of the ward councillors and the local community who have made sure they could both be returned to their former glory.”
Phil Robinson, from the Bradmore War Memorial Fund, said:
“We are really pleased that the memorial has been repaired and that the names of the fallen have been repainted. Those names will mean something to many local families.
"As a group, we wanted to ensure that the statue provided a lasting legacy to commemorate those who gave their lives, as well as being something to help younger people learn about the sacrifices made by previous generations.”
Graisley Councillor Jacqueline Sweetman added:
“I am delighted to see the memorial repaired. It is fantastic to see all our hard work pay off and, most importantly, recognise and remember the sacrifices made by local people for their country.”
Audrey Boliver, chair of Tettenhall War Memorial Committee, said:
“It is wonderful that the memorial has been repaired; it is the focal point of Tettenhall’s remembrance activities and we have had a superb response from the local community to our appeal.
“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported our fundraising, the general public, local groups and organisations and families whose ancestors are represented on the memorial.”
Tettenhall Regis ward councillor Sohail Khan added:
“I warmly welcome the repair of the war memorial which stands as an important reminder of the sacrifices made by others. The conservation work means the memorial will continue to be part of Tettenhall’s commemorative events for many years to come.”
Frances Moreton, Director of the War Memorials Trust, said:
"War memorials are a link between previous generations, ours and those who follow us. They enable us to pay tribute to the sacrifices of so many. War Memorials Trust is delighted to support this project and assist the community to improve the condition of the war memorial.
“If anyone knows of any other war memorials in need of help please contact the charity or, if you believe in the importance of our work, support us as the charity can only give further grants if it raises enough money."
War Memorials Trust can be contacted on 020 7233 7356, 0300 123 0764, 07586 920 153 or firstname.lastname@example.org