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Author Topic: SEEKING YOUR VIEWS ON THE COOKHAM DEAN WAR MEMORIAL  (Read 1945 times)
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« on: August 04, 2015, 02:00:31 PM »

Residents may well have wondered why work has not progressed on the Cookham Dean War Memorial, which was scheduled to commence following the Cookham Festival.

The answer relates to the complexity of this particular War Memorial and the process of reaching of final agreements with the War Memorials Trust, who are providing the major part of the Grant.

Although the Grant of £30,000, covering in the order of 65% of the cost of the works, has been firmly awarded, there was a genuine, heartfelt, non-rancorous difference of opinion in relation to certain aspects of the work to be undertaken.  All such differences needed to be resolved before a contract could be placed for the work.

The most important issue was the question of the World War 2 plaques fitted to the upper plinth on the east and west elevations of the War Memorial.  The Parish Council’s proposal had been that all bronze plaques should be removed because they were ‘enforced’ solutions to problems of unexpectedly rapid weathering, in which rather detrimental low-cost options had been selected in relation to the quality that might be expected of such plaques.  This view was held by the architect and the stone masons, and the Parish Council concurred with it.

The War Memorials Trust, however, held the view that, because in the case of the WW2 plaques in particular, there was no ’original engraving’ beneath these, they needed to be treated as ‘original’ in a way that the WW1 plaques did not.  Therefore, they should remain present, even though they had not been the preferred option at the time the decision was made to install them.

A direct quote from the Parish Council Minutes (Nov 1946) was given on page 5 of our Proposal, as follows.

“Mr Dodds reported that he had been in touch with a stonemason who gave the opinion that the stone was too weathered to be engraved with further names.  The best proposition was to engrave on inset bronze plaques.  …”

The War Memorials Trust have now very carefully considered this matter further in discussion with Historic England and have reached the conclusion that we may proceed with removal of the WW2 plaques, and with re-engraving the WW2 names, but subject to our using that part of the already-available funding contributed by others for this purpose.  Such a solution is entirely acceptable to the Parish Council, since the balance of funding has already been provided by the Borough Council and by the community.

However, it was also suggested by the Trust that we might wish to make a final check on the view of residents and we do feel this is appropriate as these matters are very sensitive.

The War Memorials Trust state their position in the following words:

“We fully appreciate that, aesthetically, you may feel the WW2 plaques detract from the appearance of the war memorial, but this cannot be a consideration for the parameters of this funding scheme.

 The plaques are legible, they are performing their intended function and, by their very existence, tell the continuing story of the memorial and the community it represents. They are part of what gives the memorial its historic interest and communal value. For these reasons, we would strongly encourage you to keep the WWII plaques rather than replace them.”

The Parish Council is happy to take any community views into consideration on this matter, and we would ask anyone who wishes to express a view to contact the Parish Clerk by 14th August on 01628 522003 or cookhamparishcouncil@outlook.com
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Paris
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 03:03:50 PM »

Not that it really concerns me - as I have no connection to anyone named on the memorial; but there are contradictions in the statement above.  It says that the stonemason has said that the stone is too weathered to be able to engrave any more names, but then says that the plaques could be removed and the names re-engraved.  Now as I understand it, the plaques aren't covering any names (also in the statement) so how come re-engraving and how come that can be done but no more names engraved because the stone isn't good enough?  If the plaques are removed, and re-engraving attempted - if it fails would the plaques be replaced?
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2015, 04:41:09 PM »

Reply to cookham.com

Well spotted. It was just a question of how complex the explanation was going to get!

You were right that we shouldn’t have used the term ‘re-engraved’ as no engraving had previously taken place.  It was more accurately ‘re-instating’ the names that had been on the plaque by engraving them on stone.
 
And the way that is to be achieved is by cutting out an area of stone beneath where the plaques currently are located and replacing it with closely matching new stone inset, and then engraving that new stone.

Hope this clears up the mystery!
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Paris
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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2015, 05:44:53 PM »

Thanks Webmaster  Smiley
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