Roll of Honour for First World War heroes restored and destined for Norwich City Hall
Copyright: Archant 2014
The names and deeds of thousands of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War will be unlocked from the keep of Norwich Castle and fully restored to take pride of place in City Hall.
The Roll of Honour bears the names of 3,544 men who fell on the field of battle and now a restoration campaign has assured its future.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also created the war memorial on St Peter’s Street in 1927 and the London Cenotaph, the Roll of Honour was commissioned because the city centre memorial was not large enough to name every soldier.
Originally installed in Norwich Castle in January 1931 without fanfare and some embarrassment about the time it had taken to make ready, the Roll of Honour is one of a kind but has since suffered structural damage.
“Unfortunately over the years it has become rather chafed so we decided to have it revitalised,” said treasurer of Norwich War Memorial Trust, Roy Blower.
The project had been £5,000 short of its £45,850 target until a single donation from RG Carter Holdings Ltd tipped it over the edge.
Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service are now putting the final touches on the restoration project and the fruits of their labour will be unveiled in the City Hall foyer in November to tie in with the First World War centenary.
“Bearing in mind we have the war memorial outside City Hall this syncs them together beautifully,” Mr Blower added.
“As we all know, local authorities are strapped for cash which is why we wanted to raise this money and restore the Roll of Honour so all the public can see it.
“More importantly, it is now 100 years since the First World War and we are approaching the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme this summer, so it is timely to bring the Roll back out to the public this year, and remember all those people who gave their lives for our freedom.”
The funding target was reached with help from the Geoffrey Watling Trust, Town Close Estate Charity, and RG Carter Holdings Ltd, with the remainder obtained by Norfolk Museums Service. “This will be something future generations are able to see and remember the sacrifice of those brave men who gave their lives,” said Mr Blower.
Councillor Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “We are very proud that this important memorial to those who gave their lives in the First World War is being restored to its former glory and will be installed in the foyer of City Hall, completing the restoration of these two important memorials.”
Dr David Davies, chief curator for Norfolk Museums Service, thanked those involved in the project and said: “We are delighted that it is possible for this great memorial to be re-located in such an appropriate, accessible and central city location and with such significant timing in relation to the centenary of the Great War.”