Vandalised War Memorial Reconstructed
The Leicester City, County & Rutland At Risk War Memorials Project has recently completed the recreation of an impressive war memorial board honouring the names of 216 men who died in World War One.
The original board was located in the memorial chapel at St Saviour’s Church, St Saviour’s Road, Leicester but, when first inspected by the Project, the names were found to be extremely difficult to read as they had been written in black ink on an ox blood red veneer and were fading badly.
In 2006, thanks to the efforts of George Thomas and Chris Stephens, the names were copied out in long hand although, even by that time, a few names had faded so badly that they were no longer possible to read.
St. Saviour’s Church closed in 2005 and then, unfortunately, endured several break-ins, particularly in 2010, when commemorative stained-glass windows were smashed (including memorial window to 2nd Lieutenant Harvey Priestman Flint MC of the Leicestershire Regiment) and many of the other 18 objects of remembrance were destroyed or stolen including the total destruction of the war memorial board.
As it was not possible to remove the remnants of the board from the church, it was decided to recreate an exact duplicate. The Project, headed by co-founder – Denis Kenyon, commissioned a local calligrapher, Stephen Delaney, to reproduce the original as closely as possible. After many months of painstaking work, the recreated board was handed over to the Project in early-September. Measuring around five feet by three feet, the recreated board has been beautifully hand-written with the same wording from the original board and layout of the columns of names. Those names that were not possible to interpret have been replaced with a series of dots.
The board has now been framed and forms part of the Project’s Resident Memorials collection and is displayed at their base in the Chancel at All Saints’ Church, Highcross, Leicester.
The recreation of the board and the loss of the other remembrance items from St. Saviour’s Church has drawn a lot of interest to the Project’s work. At the Project’s Open Day in September, even before the board was officially put on display, several visitors identified the names of a relative on the board and at the official unveiling on 17 November 2014 the interest had increased with many people attending to get a look at the name of a family member on the memorial which had previously been inaccessible for many years.
Project Open Day
The memorial board will be next on display, together with many other memorials, at the Project’s Open Day which will be held on Saturday 17 January 2015, between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. Full details of the memorials, Open Days, access etc. can be found on the Project’s website.
The Leicester City, County & Rutland At Risk War Memorials Project is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the identification, preservation, renovations and rescue of war memorials which are at risk of damage, deterioration or loss throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The Project is majority funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is an HM Revenue and Customs recognised charity. The Project holds regular Open Days throughout the year when members of the public can view the Project’s Resident Memorials.
Find out more about the Project
Further details about the Project, including many images of the various memorials, can be found on the Project’s website.