The Evington Village War Memorial Restoration Project 2014
The memorial, crafted out of Portland Stone was designed by Stockdale Harrison and Sons Ltd and donation by John Edward Faire, Esq of Evington Hall. The monument was unveiled on 25th July 1920, originally sited in the middle of the Village Green, it was then moved to its current site.
By 2014, the site was uneven, the stone was disintegrating, covered in years of grime and moss and the planted features were struggling to survive in the shade. As part of the commemoration to the fallen and to mark the centenary of the start of WW1, Parks Services and the Friends of Evington embarked on an ambitious project to rejuvenate the site, with a focus on community consultation and participation.
The monument itself required cleaning, repairing and repointing. Professionals gently removed the years of grime using a Slurry Clean, a calcium treatment used to bring the stonework back to its original state. Lime mortar was used to repair and re-point all the joints, then the monument was sealed using a Polyester resin. Finally the slabs and steps were re-laid and new benches replaced the old wooden ones that were originally donated by the Royal British Legion. A new path was created to allow easier access to the site for those less able. A new bin completed the visible hard landscaping details.
Following consultation, it was suggested that the formal flower beds would look better if they were symmetrical. The old rose beds were removed and grassed over. Leicester City council, Parks Services and the Friends of Evington members, along with the local community and the 2502 (Hamilton) Air Training Corps, joined forces to create the new flower bed features. Summer annual bedding, partly funded by the Evington Ward community Fund, was planted up in June.
The restoration was linked to an additional local social history project, led by the Friends of Evington and funded by The Heritage Lottery First World War: Then and Now. The site was officially re-opened by Sir Peter Soulsby, Leicester City Mayor on 4th August, 2014 and guests were then invited to a Peace event at Evington Village Hall, where the main speakers were Malcolm Elliott and Aikifar Aboobaker.
The carved memorial bench and a time capsule (also funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund) were ceremonially buried by Diane Bell and Helen Pettman, trustees of Friends of Evington on 11th November 2014. All the local schools – Linden Primary School, Oaklands Special School, Whitehall Primary School, Krishna Avanti Primary School, St. Paul’s School, Judgmeadow Community College and the City of Leicester College – took part in the ceremony, adding their writings, DVDs and artwork to the capsule.
The stakeholders for this joint project were: Friends of Evington led by Helen Pettman and Diane Bell, Leicester City Council led by Ward councillor, Baljit Singh and Parks Services led by Penny Brown. Thanks go to 2502 (Hamilton) Air Training Corps. for turning out in force to dig the beds. Many other volunteers helped with gardening and events.