War Memorials Trust

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Horwich Locomotive Works

Town or City: Bolton
County: Lancashire
Country: England
WMT Reference Number: WM3495

Value of grant: £2437.00
Type of memorial: Freestanding
Type of work: Conservation and repair
Grant scheme: Small Grants Scheme
Year: 2010

UKNIWM reference number: 3276

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Horwich war memorial © Horwich Town Council, 2010Horwich Locomotive Workers’ war memorial is located in the industrial estate on Chorley New Road and is sited within a small paved area bordered by railings. The memorial is composed of a granite plinth on which the incised inscription and names of the fallen are recorded; both name and rank are detailed. This is surmounted by a marble statue of a soldier in mourning pose with his rifle by his side. The memorial is located within a Conservation Area.

In 2010, War Memorials Trust gave a grant of £2,437 through its Small Grants Scheme towards a conservation project for the memorial. The concern with the condition of the memorial was in regards to the legibility of the inscriptions. Granite is normally one of the more durable stones for retaining the legibility of incised inscriptions, however, in this case, a number of factors led to some of the names being illegible and others difficult to read. The weathering of the inscriptions meant that the arrises of the letters were not as sharp as they were originally, making the decorative lettering featured on this memorial less distinct. Furthermore, the surface of the granite itself had weathered and in places there was pitting on the surface. Where this pitting was adjacent to or encroached onto a carved letter, the illegibility was exacerbated. Finally, the loss of some of the infill paint in the letters further reduced the legibility.Indistinct inscriptions prior to works © Horwich Town Council, 2010

Due to the condition of the surface of the stone and the pitting, a carefully considered approach needed to be taken in this case and the Town Council sought advice from the Trust, the local council’s Conservation Officer and specialist contractors. This is because due to the loss of some of the stone surrounding the letters it would not be possible to re-cut here, and also when the lettering was re-painted there was the potential of the paint ‘bleeding’ out on to the surrounding stone and thus not improving, and potentially further deteriorating, the legibility of the inscriptions. Re-facing the stone, or inserting new panels over the existing inscriptions are contrary to conservation best practice as they result in the unnecessary loss of original fabric and change the design of the memorial, as well as the potential damage which could result from placing additional panels over the existing. Therefore, the Trust’s grant was towards work which included repairing the minor pitting to the stone with in-situ resin/filler. This allowed for the lettering to be re-cut by hand, as the crevices around the lettering had been filled. Finally the lettering was re-painted in black enamel. This approach meant that the inscriptions are once again legible whilst retaining the historic fabric and the integrity of the memorial as a whole.

The Town Council also removed the bushes behind the memorial to allow access around the whole memorial so all the names can be easily read and to restore the original design, but this work was not included in the grant.Inscriptions after conservation work © Horwich Town Council, 2010

The memorial was paid for by employees of the former Horwich Locomotive Works. The sculptor was Paul Fairclough and the memorial was unveiled in August 1921.

The main dedicatory inscription on the memorial reads:

To the
everlasting memory
of our glorious dead
1914 - 1918
erected by
Horwich Loco Works

In remembrance 1939 - 1945

Further information

War Memorials Trust reference WM3495
UK National Inventory of War Memorials: 3276

If you have a concern about this memorial please contact the Trust on conservation@warmemorials.org

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