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Civic chiefs’ proposed tribute to war dead
THESE are the new glass walls of remembrance civic chiefs hope to erect beside Southampton’s Cenotaph.
They will be inscribed with the names of armed service personal from the city killed in conflicts from First World War onward.
Southampton City Council will today unveil the latest designs for proposed memorial walls alongside the Watt’s Park Cenotaph which will be made up of eight 1.5m high toughened glass panels.
Heritage bosses want to safeguard the names of the 2,000 First World Ward dead inscribed on the monument which are in danger of fading after 90 years of erosion.
A further 1,000 names, including armed services personnel who perished in the Second World War and subsequent conflicts, will also be etched on the glass panels.
Initial plans were for Portland limestone walls to match the Centotaph. But, after consulting parks groups and English Heritage, concerns were raised over the removal of benches and obtaining planning persimmon.
The glass concept will now be developed into a detailed designs with glass samples for a public exhibition in February.
Pleased Cabinet member for culture Councillor John Hannides said: “We are very pleased to have come up with this solution that we think meets all the criteria and would be a very attractive complement to the Cenotaph itself.
“We have to be very mindful that any wall that is built would not be so dominant as to detract from the Cenotaph. We hope this is an outcome that will be welcomed by the public and all concerned.”
Archie Parsons, secretary of the Southampton branch of the Royal British Legion, said he would have preferred to see stone memorial walls but added: “Having seen these plans for the glass walls I’m all in favour. The only difference will be the material and the fact we can’t have one continuous wall.”
After an inspection report last year the council decided they could not afford the £300,000 needed to restore the Cenotaph.
It has set aside £50,000 for the memorial walls project, leaving at around £75,000 to be raised.
Director general Jimmy Chestnutt said: “It’s very exciting and we will be glad to be part of it. I have no doubt that businesses in Southampton will rise to the challenge.”
Residents and employees are being urged to donate £1 each. It is hoped that memorial walls will be ready for Remembrance Day 2011.
The proposal is subject to listed building consent and that of the secretary of state for the environment.