Wellington Monument: a complete renovation

Apr 10, 2019

Emma Jones

Emma is the Community Fundraising and Engagement Officer for the Wellington Monument, which is currently undergoing a complete renovation.

 

The ‘Monumental Women’ of the Wellington WI were delighted to welcome Emma Jones (pictured left) from the National Trust to their March meeting. Emma is the Community Fundraising and Engagement Officer for the Wellington Monument, which is currently undergoing a complete renovation.

After giving a brief history of the Monument and its construction, Emma outlined the plans which the NT has for this well-loved local landmark. The project will cost in the region of £3.8 million, of which the NT have raised £2.7 million so far. This has enabled them to undertake a very detailed survey of the building which mapped each stone individually, and also to plan for the main part of the work which will commence in autumn 2019 with the erection of complex scaffolding. This will allow access to all points of the 175 foot high structure for workmen and, hopefully, limited public access.

The pale cream stone, which has weathered to grey over the years, was originally quarried locally but as this is no longer available, the NT have sourced a similar stone from Wiltshire which will be used to replace blocks which cannot be saved. Each stone will be individually shaped by stonemasons as an exact replica, which has thrown up an extra problem as over the years many names have been inscribed into the stones near the base. The NT feel this is part of the history and the carvings will be reproduced on the replacement stones, although on the inner face of the stone.

Work has also been undertaken to establish how much the Monument moves in the windy conditions it experiences on its hilltop spot. Testing revealed that whilst the actual movement was only 0.1 mm, the Monument also twisted, which caused stress on the already weak structure.

The Monument is dearly loved by the local population and members were able to share their own stories of childhood visits and picnics. Some members had climbed the steep stone stairs to drink in the amazing vista from the top. The main focus of the restoration is to give back the view to the people of the area, and to this end there are plans to reopen the Monument for people to climb, as well as making the view accessible to all via webcam.

Emma rounded off her fascinating talk by urging members to share their memories, take part in the planned fundraising activities and volunteer to help the NT efforts to save this very dear part of our heritage.

Members have been busy this month and we heard updates on past and planned activities from the walking netball, supper club, and walking group, as well as our first time participating in the Wellington Repair Café. Plans are afoot to create an even more spectacular display of knitted and crocheted poppies in the town this year, and members were urged to get their needles and hooks working.

The evening was rounded off by a hilarious game of Scrawl where members used their drawing and descriptive talents to depict some unlikely scenarios in word and picture form.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 18th April at the Beambridge Inn where we will be hearing from a Blood Biker about their work in the area. New members and visitors are always welcome.

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