A £250,000 project to restore the historic Brierley Hill war memorial is due to be completed this week.
Dudley Council Leader Councilor Patrick Harley met Brierley Hill Community Forum Chairman Tim Sunter on Wednesday July 6 to see the job nearly complete.
The Church Hill monument restoration project began in August last year.
The first phase saw the Grade II listed soldier sitting atop the memorial repaired and upgraded, the walls and balustrades repaired and new architectural lighting installed. The majority of the work in this phase was completed in time for the war memorial‘s centenary in November 2021.
In the second phase, which began in January this year, the contractors worked on laying natural stone paving on the terrace around the war memorial and carrying out a program of landscaping works hard and soft in the memorial gardens themselves. The work included stabilization work on the embankment and the intermediate wall that crosses its centre.
The work, carried out by Midland Conservation Ltd – overseen by Oliver Architecture, is part of a wider regeneration scheme for the town through the £1.8million Brierley Hill High Street Heritage Action Area sterling, a government-funded grant scheme administered by Historic England.
The project also saw new planters installed in the four recessed bays which can be used to support Brierley Hill in Bloom delivered by Brierley Hill Community Forum. The group have championed restoration work at Brierley Hill War Memorial and supported the recent installation of knitted flowers which are now cascading through the gardens.
Councilor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “I have visited this site a few times now and it is fantastic to see the improvements that have been made.
“The war memorial sits on a key gateway to Brierley Hill and, now fully restored, will ensure that the memories of these heroic soldiers enshrined there will endure to inspire and educate future generations.
“This is one of many positive developments underway for Brierley Hill, and it is great that the work is complete in time for the Queen’s Baton Relay on July 24 when it passes through Brierley Hill.
“As a council, we are committed to improving the city and we are working closely with the very active Community Forum to drive real change and improve the lives of the people who live and work here.”
Tim Sunter, President of the Brierley Hill Community Forum, said: “The war memorial rightly holds a very special place in the hearts of the people of Brierley Hill. Its repair and improvement of its gardens is a project that the Brierley Hill Community Forum has been advocating for for many years.
“It is not only a very fitting tribute to the town’s dead, it is also a very positive start to the planned regeneration work proposed for Brierley Hill.”
The war memorial commemorates those who died during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, the Cyprus Emergency and the Malayan Emergency.
Above stands a marble statue of a uniformed male soldier with a bayonet. Stanley Harley, the first man from Brierley Hill to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), was the one chosen to pose for her when she was originally sculpted.