After the city’s former Providence Methodist library and church, The Gables, was sold for development in 2015, the memorial’s lighting was turned off. Indeed, the lighting was powered by the old public toilets next to The Gables and this building was also sold to be used as a bicycle shop for residents.
“Ironically, the Colne and Wallace Hartley war memorials were listed Grade II by Historic England in the same year they were no longer lit at night,” explained the Conservative adviser. David Cockburn-Price, Chairman of the Colne Area and District Committee.
Councilors had tried, for several years, to get the lighting restored, but Pendle Council refused to set aside the budget.
The Colne Area and District Committee asked for the scheme to be reviewed and, due to complex electricity supply issues, the total cost was almost £7,000. The committee, eight of nine of whom are Tories, voted £4,000 from its central pot to be spent on the re-illumination of the War Memorial and the Wallace Hartley Memorial.
Com. Kieran McGladdery said: ‘Our war memorial is truly special and unlike most others you see it is in the form of a Portland stone Doric colonnade. It was designed by TH Hartley and took a long time to erect, being first used a dozen years after the First World War in November 1930.”
Guided tours at the historic Pendle Heritage Center
Com. Neil Butterworth, who as a veteran played a leading role in calling for the memorial to be refurbished in 2010, said: ‘This re-illumination is great to finally see and is important both for veterans and residents. The interior of the memorial records all World War I names directly on its walls, while World War II names are displayed on bronze plaques either side of the stone of remembrance.
The Gables was built in 1867 as the home of Nicholas England Jr, an influential businessman in the cotton trade, and memorials have been erected in his former front garden. The Gables became Colne’s library in 1907 and later a Methodist chapel and returned to residential use again.