Alderholt War Memorial Re-Levelling

Existing Monuments

27th October 2023

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Stone, Brass, Royal Marines

In Alderholt, we revisited a timeless piece of history—a beautiful memorial standing with quiet dignity just outside the church grounds. Following our initial report & quotation, we compiled an updated report, including new photographs that provided a visual accompaniment to our findings.

BEFORE

AFTER

ABOVE: At the time of our inspection the memorial’s lean can clearly be seen. Re-levelling a monument of this importance makes all the difference to its visual spectacle.

The memorial in question is a striking example of craftsmanship, featuring a rustic finish, light grey granite Celtic Cross. The cross is supported by a tapered column set on a tapered rectangular dye, all of which is perched on a weathered base with matching edges. Standing tall at approximately 3 meters, the structure commands attention in its grassy enclave, bordered by a wooden fence and vibrant bedding plants. This serene setting, however, belies the proximity to a busy road bustling with traffic, including large trucks and lorries.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

ABOVE: A thorough yet careful, professional clean was due to bring out the rustic qualities of the memorial.

Upon close inspection, we found the memorial to be structurally sound. However, it had visibly subsided since our last check on February 14, 2019. The monument leaned forward and tilted to the left. This subsidence was primarily due to inadequate foundations and the constant vibrations from nearby traffic. Our inspection could not confirm if the sections were secured with any fixings, raising concerns that ongoing or worsening subsidence might stress the joints to the point of a catastrophic collapse of the main cross section.

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE LEFT: As the small flowerbed is part of the war memorial, we took extra care not to disturb it in any way during our work.

ABOVE RIGHT: The Alderholt war memorial is a classic design – we’re proud to have worked on it.

To preserve this historic piece, we recommended re-levelling the memorial and installing more robust foundations. Ideally, this work should be undertaken without disturbing the existing joints, as this would avoid the complex and potentially risky task of separating the memorial sections to check for internal fixings.

Adding to the memorial’s woes was a sizable rose bush growing behind it. This plant had been tethered to the memorial with wire around the middle of the dye and red/pink string at the base of the cross. While the wire was unlikely to damage the granite, it could rub against the lettering faces, and the string had already cut into the mortar joint over time. Although the rose bush hadn’t caused the subsidence, its continued growth could have posed future stability issues and ongoing maintenance challenges for the granite. We recommended removing the rose bush to prevent further complications.

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE LEFT: This photograph reveals the extent of the memorial’s lean. It was essential to correct this before potential catastrophic collapse.

ABOVE RIGHT: The tethering that was cutting into the mortar. This had to be removed.

In conclusion, while the memorial remained a structurally sound tribute to history, addressing the subsidence and potential stress on its joints was crucial to preventing further tilting or collapse. Re-levelling the structure, installing more extensive foundations, and removing the rose bush helped ensure the longevity and stability of this important historical monument.

Our work to the Alderholt war memorial consisted of the following:

1. Professional Cleaning

2. Mortar Restoration

3. Inscription Restoration

4. Foundation and Stability Work

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE LEFT: Our spider crane was used to part the memorial from its foundations.

ABOVE RIGHT: New stronger and safer foundations were laid to ensure optimum stability for the memorial.

For the joints that were largely empty, once the old mortar was raked out it was crucial to thoroughly clean the joints to remove all dust and loose material ready for repointing with a lime-based mortar that closely matched the original mix colour and texture.

The inscriptions on the front and right-hand faces of the dye are in raised-lead, originally coated with black enamel for enhanced legibility. We found the lead letters to be in good condition, with no missing or damaged pieces. However, the black enamel had significantly deteriorated over the years. It had faded, peeling, and flaking away.

To restore the inscriptions we meticulously cleaned the lead letters to remove the remnants of the existing enamel. Following this, the letters were re-coated with black enamel by one of our skilled craftsmen.

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE LEFT: A thorough but careful DOFF clean brought the beauty back to the stone.

ABOVE RIGHT: A skilled War Memorial Conservation Co. craftsman restored the lustre to the lead inscription with black enamel.

All of our meticulous restoration work ensured we had preserved the dignity and integrity of this historic memorial for future generations to admire and reflect upon.

BELOW: The memorial standing at its best once again.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

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