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Sorry state of Norwich’s war memorial prompts ‘lack of respect’ complaints and clean up pledge

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:27 03 April 2018

The Norwich War Memorial which is in need of a clean up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Norwich War Memorial which is in need of a clean up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

“It’s disgusting that our dead are shown such little respect” - complaints have been made about the state of Norwich’s War Memorial, as the centenary of the end of the First World War approaches.

The Norwich War Memorial which is in need of a clean up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Norwich War Memorial which is in need of a clean up. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The memorial to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during conflict was only restored eight years ago, when it was repositioned to face City Hall.

But pollution has already made its mark on the grade II* listed monument. Gilded lettering, including ‘Their Name Liveth For Evermore’ is now barely legible because of the black crust which has formed.

Norwich City Council says that has been caused by “a mixture of surface biological growth and a sulphate crust developing due to the Portland Stone reacting to sulphur dioxide from pollutants”.

The city council and MPs have had complaints about its appearance, with one complainant stating: “It’s disgusting that our dead are shown such little respect”.

The memorial pictured in 2011.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYThe memorial pictured in 2011. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

At the moment, cleaning is done before each memorial service using warm water, soft brushes and mist spraying, with the memorial’s listed status meaning only certain methods can be used.

But this November will mark one hundred years since the end of the First World War and the council acknowledges the memorial’s state needs to be addressed.

The council has applied to its own planning committee for permission to carry out a conservation clean, at a cost of about £2,500.

That will use a steam cleaning system, operated at a temperature of about 150 degrees celsius, to remove the biological growth and black crust.

Officers said the aim is not the return the memorial to a “like new” appearance. But they said: “Manual cleaning methods have been used since the completion of the Memorial Gardens scheme, but now have little to no effect.

“The work will, by its very nature, make the memorial look cleaner and more cared for and will bring it back to a more acceptable state for the next memorial service.”

Jack Woods, secretary of the Norwich and Norfolk District Branch of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, welcomed the clean up.

He said: “It’s the only memorial we have to remind us of those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.”

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