‘Moving War Memorial is a risky move’ says Trust

Denis Kenyon, Mark Robinson chairman, Brian Tanner civic society and Rosalind Willatts inside the Cottage Hospital War Memorial.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Denis Kenyon, Mark Robinson chairman, Brian Tanner civic society and Rosalind Willatts inside the Cottage Hospital War Memorial. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Market Harborough should not be too quick to move its War Memorial, a spokesman from the national War Memorials Trust has said.

The Trust says a move would not only lose the Memorial’s original setting, but would also risk damaging it.

A local campaign is well under way to have the unique First World War Memorial moved from its current site at the now redundant Cottage Hospital in Coventry Road to a new site in the Memorial Gardens in the town centre.

But the War Memorial Trust’s conservation officer Chris Reynolds - writing in a letter to a local man who has ancestors on the Memorial - advises that the Trust could not support the move until the future of the hospital building and site has been decided.

Mr Reynolds explains: “This is because there is a concern about the loss of original setting as well as the technical challenges of the relocation itself.

“Until the future of the hospital building has clearly been determined there may be solutions that enable the war memorial portico to be retained in situ in an appropriate setting.

“War Memorials Trust believes that until that is proven to be impossible a memorial in this situation should not be moved because of the potential risks.”

Mr Reynolds said the Trust would only back relocation when the present Cottage Hospital building has definitely been scheduled for demolition, or future plans made relocation appropriate.

“This would be dependent on the works being carried out in a way which follows best conservation practice and that ensures the future of the war memorial in the long term” he added.

Speaking to the Mail this week, War Memorials Trust director Frances Moreton added: “Chris has outlined our position and our principles, which relate to all War Memorials - and there are 10,000 in the UK, all of them very, very different. Our point is that a move has to be very carefully considered.”

She said a move should be a last resort when other options are exhausted, and then done “in the most appropriate way”.