The project to restore and enhance the War Memorial and the immediate site around it was first discussed in 2004. This followed a previous incident of vandalism where the gun on the statue was destroyed. A lengthy process had followed this incident where eventually a replacement gun was donated by a foreign businessman and was fitted to replace the original.
The Bagillt Heritage Society agreed to raise funds for the first phase of a restoration project that would address the more immediate concerns on the site. There was some discussion over the re-siting of the second world war names but after discussion with various parties it was felt that this would not be in the scope of this first phase of the work.
The main concerns were the safety and security of the site and the maintenance of the statue and surrounding stonework. It was agreed that following the earlier vandalism, it was essential that the site should be well lit and that in the interests of safety, damaged pavers should be replaced and the pavers made more secure. In addition the stonework in the surrounding area needs to be cleaned and damage to the statue and the plinth should be addressed.
Funds were raised by public subscription, from earlier Bagillt Heritage Society projects, and from Bagillt Community Council donations. Flintshire County Council were approached to assist in the lighting scheme and their officers provided a costed agreed plan for a lighting scheme. Arrangements to get the work done with a contractor had broken down by this time due to the long time it had taken to take the project forward, however, by April 2006 the Bagillt Heritage Society were seeking assurances from Flintshire County Councils officer that the work on the lighting scheme could be completed by November 2006. At this stage the Bagillt Heritage Society were told that the works should be completed. The Society had sufficient funding to proceed, although it would have not been possible to do all the additional works in one go and would have curtailed any future projects that the Society had discussed. Nothing happened despite repeated attempts to see what the holdup was with the Flintshire County Council official.
In June 2006 the Bagillt Heritage Society applied to the Flintshire Community Trust for a grant towards the work. It was indicated to the society, following a site meeting between the Bagillt Heritage Society officers, Flintshire County Council’s officer and the officer for the Flintshire Community Trust that a grant of £9,000 might be made available subject to up to date (original estimates were by this time 18 months out of date) estimates and suitable re-wording of the scheme proposal provided by the Flintshire County Council officer who agreed that this would be forthcoming within a couple of weeks. The changes never emerged and despite several attempts to contact the officer, messages left at his office and intervention by a local council member, nothing was received to be forwarded to the Flintshire Community Trust. By early December 2006 the Bagillt Heritage Society received a letter from the Flintshire Community Trust saying that the offer of a grant was withdrawn as we had not been able to provide a detailed scheme and estimates.
At this point the officers of the Bagillt Heritage Society decided to press on and manage the project independently. To this end we have planned the project from within our own resources and will publish the details of this when we have accurate estimates. The Society intends to start work on the project from its own limited resources by December 2006. The officers feel let down by the response we have not had from Flintshire County Council. The loss of a potential £9,000 of additional funding cannot be understated, especially in terms of its impact on our next planned project which will now be postponed, however, to not have acted now and start these much needed works would not have been acceptable either
Work started on the project on 9th December 2006 in foul weather. The initial work on the site involved providing a concrete collar around the paving that is to be relayed. Here you can see the progress up to that point. Soon after this, the officers of the Society re-applied for a grant and were eventually successful in getting one to replace the current pillars on the statue with a new one made of marble. In addition, gates for the front of the site are to be erected. The Society already has funds for the safety lighting that is to be installed on the site, the wiring for this has already been installed. It is expected that work will re-commence in mid October and should be finished by early November 2007.
Following the publicity surrounding the abortive grant assistance for this project, various parties contacted The Bagillt Heritage Society and the Flintshire Community Trust once again agreed to consider a grant towards the work from their next years allocation. The project was re-scoped and now was to provide safety lighting, a new plinth for the monument and gates at the front of the site. Eventually all elements of the scheme were underway.
Work on the site recommenced 31st October 2007 and is shown in this sequence of photographs showing Blackwell’s Stonecraft of Llong re-assembling the memorial on the new plinth.
The war memorial base and plinth are now replaced with marble. Marble is a metamorphosed carbonate rock, usually limestone, composed mostly of calcite but sometimes there may be impurities resulting in the spectacular banding that can be seen. Limestone is a sedimentary rock originally deposited under the sea and formed by sea-bed sediments and shells of marine creatures compacting over thousands of years to form a solid rock. The Limestone has been subjected to enormous temperatures and pressures has been recrystalised to form an extremely hard stone that can be polished for decorative use. The pure white marble used here is from the Carrara quarry in Italy, which along with Bagillt, also supplied Michelangelo for his work