Queen Victoria Commemorative Memorial – Aldermaston

Existing Monuments

30th June 2023

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Stone, Brass, Royal Marines

Nestled in the heart of Aldermaston village, the memorial on the village centre green stands as a silent witness to history. Constructed from natural limestone, the fountain, though not officially listed, is situated within a conservation Area. This setting demanded a sympathetic and conservative approach to any refurbishment efforts.

The fountain’s design is intricate yet graceful, comprising two steps that supports three sides. Two of these sides form high back seats, providing a place for villagers to sit and reflect, while the third side is the source of the fountain’s gentle stream. At its core, a central column rises majestically, culminating in a spike that points towards the sky.

BEFORE

AFTER

ABOVE: The art of a professional stone clean can cleary be seen here from our first inspection to our last visit. The beauty of this monument is restored.

Built around 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the fountain bares the Royal crest carved in relief on its water-facing side. The years of Queen Victoria’s accession (1837) and her Diamond Jubilee (1897) were etched into the stone, marking its historical significance. Beyond these, the fountain is devoid of additional engravings, letting its architectural beauty speak for itself.

Recent assessments, bolstered by photographs, confirmed the fountain’s structural integrity. It appeared secure and stable, with no immediate need for rectifying stability or structural conditions. However, our assessments also revealed clear signs of stone erosion, particularly at the fountain’s base.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

ABOVE: The seating area of the monument. It had clearly seen better days.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

ABOVE: The fountain section of the monument was inactive upon our initial inspection.

The memorial had recently undergone a thorough steam cleaning using the DOFF System method. The post-cleaning photographs provided a clearer view of the stone erosion and damage, enabling a more accurate assessment of the necessary repairs. Some parts of the pointing work across the memorial had begun to crumble and fail. Without prompt attention, this deterioration could accelerate, leading to water penetration, frost damage, and the unwelcome growth of vegetation within the gaps.

Recognising the urgency, it was strongly recommended that all existing mortar be carefully checked and tested. Any missing, loose, or defective pointing would need to be meticulously removed ensuring no further damage to the stonework.

BELOW: The post-clean revealed cracks and erosion all lover the monument that had to be addressed.

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign
Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE: The post-clean also revealed not only extensive cracking to the seating area but parts of it were even breaking away.

As the village of Aldermaston looked towards preserving its cherished fountain, these steps were essential. The careful restoration would ensure that the memorial continued to honour Queen Victoria’s legacy and remain a cherished landmark for future generations. The fountain, a testament to both historical significance and communal memory, was poised to stand proudly for many more years, a beacon of the village’s rich heritage.

Our work to the Aldermaston commemorative memorial consisted of the following:

1. Assess the masonry within the water trough

2. Carry out careful additional DOFF steam cleaning to selected areas prior to repair

3. Remove defective mortar on the monument and bases & then re-point using a matching lime-based mortar

4. Replace the large chipped/missing sections with matching stone then repair smaller cracked/chipped/missing areas throughout the monument including the fissures/cracks

5. Carefully sharpen and deepen the Crest and two date panels to enhance the original carvings

6. Treat the iron lightning spike with anti-rust protection

7. Carefully apply shelter-coats to the column section

Granite, memorial, hand painted

ABOVE: Detailing work carried out by one of our master craftsmen.

The restoration of Aldermaston’s cherished fountain, situated at the village centre green, required meticulous planning and execution. This historic monument, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, stood as a testament to the village’s rich heritage. To ensure the fountain’s longevity, a detailed restoration plan was put in place, addressing both the visible and hidden damages.

Location of Arsenal FC training centre entrance boulder sign

ABOVE LEFT: On of our master craftsmen performs careful repair work to the stone ready for re-pointing.

ABOVE RIGHT: Freshly-completed re-pointing.

Once the joints were raked out of loose material, they were meticulously cleaned and flushed. The joints were then re-pointed using a lime-based mortar closely matching the original.

A significant concern was the extensive damage to the stonework, with large cracks appearing throughout the fountain structure. This damage was largely attributed to the fountain’s close proximity to road traffic.

Previous patchwork repairs were evident but had failed, as such repairs are typically only effective in the short to medium term. Our comprehensive repair work was essential to prolong the life of the memorial, though it would not restore it to a “good as new” condition. Ongoing future maintenance would be necessary.

BELOW: This photo reveals the extend of the repair work. Note the new slab fitted to the seating area.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

BELOW: All the joints were fixed and strengthened ready to last the test of time.

Granite, memorial, hand painted

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