New Barnet's distinctive - but badly discoloured - war memorial is one of six within the borough which is to be cleaned and restored by Barnet Council.

A grant of £28,000 towards the cost of conservation work has been made by the War Memorial Trust Charity and the council is to contribute a further £23,000.

Other war memorials to be cleaned are at East Barnet, Totteridge, Hendon, the Friern Barnet Parishioners war memorial, and the Men of Mill Hill war memorial.

New Barnet’s memorial, which is grade II listed with Historic England, is considered to be in urgent need of restoration.

Green chloride from corrosion disfiguring the bronze statue of the Angel of Peace at the top of the memorial has stained the sides of the obelisk of Portland stone.

The bronze allegorical figure – by the sculptor Newbury Abbot Trent, an Associate of the Royal Academy – stands on a globe supported by four fish, and at 2.4 metre high, it surmounts the 5 metres tall obelisk.

The first task facing the restorers will be testing to ascertain the extent of the damage caused by the staining prior to the cleaning of the stonework.

Other work will include stabilising and repointing brickworks and granite capping. New limestone face panels might also be incorporated in the foundation slab.

The memorial, built in 1921 at the junction of Station Road and Lyonsdown Road at a cost of £900, was unveiled by Viscount Hampden, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, who was commanding officer of the 1st Battalion the Hertfordshire Regiment.  

It records the names of 277 men and one woman who lost their lives in the First World War and the names of 136 men who died in the Second World War and whose names were subsequently added following a campaign by Catherine Loveday. She attracted considerable support for her campaign to inscribe the Second World War names to the memorials at first East Barnet, then New Barnet and finally Hendon.

The re-lettering of the New Barnet memorial in 2010 had been made possible because Mrs Loveday easily exceeded her initial target of raising £2,000 for an extra panel on the East Barnet memorial.

Among the donations were £500 raised by Roger Aitken from the sale of a 2010 East Barnet calendar and £600 raised by the East Barnet Air Training Corps. 

Mrs Loveday began her campaign to commemorate those who fell in the Second World War after being puzzled as a child by the absence of her father's name on the East Barnet memorial. The name S F Chapman was added in 1995 with the approval of Barnet Council and she launched her appeal to commemorate other servicemen who lost their lives in World War Two. A Second World War plaque was added in 2010 when the memorial was re-dedicated at a ceremony attended by 500 people including the Mayor of Barnet, local councillors and children from Church Hill Road Junior School who had helped with fund raising.

Under the council's conservation programme, the memorial is to be repointed with approved lime mortar. There will be conservation cleaning of the lettering as well as improvement to the perimeter fencing.

To prevent further deterioration of the Friern Barnet Parishioners war memorial there will be repointing, the installation of wreath holders and the re-sharpening and deepening of lettering to improve legibility.

There will be cleaning and re-pointing of the Hendon and Totteridge war memorials and work to repair and stabilise the Latin cross on the Men of Mill Hill war memorial.

The list of six memorial to be restored was announced by Councillor Stephen Sowerby, the council’s heritage and design champion.  Conservation work is due to start in the summer.

Another four of the ten war memorials within the borough failed to get match funding from the War Memorial Trust Charity – including the High Barnet war memorial at the parish church.

Many names of the fallen are badly disfigured by algae and lichen and local historians had called on the council – without success – to carry out restoration in advance of a service in April to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its erection.

Councillor Sowerby said the council is about to request quotes for conservation works to the grade II listed peace monument at Friary Park, Friern Barnet.

The Statue of Peace, sculpted by Joseph Durham in 1862, was installed in Friary Park in 1910 by a local benefactor Sydney Simmons.

It is mounted on 200 tons of Devon rock in the form of a Devon tor – in recognition of Mr Simmons’ birthplace of Okehampton, Devon – and is the next of the council’s statutory listed monuments to qualify for conservation.

“The council will review the quotes received in July and decide the next steps,” said Councillor Sowerby.

“I fear the conservation costs could be considerable which may delay the implementation of these necessary works.”

Councillor Sowerby said another heritage project taking shape was a set of policies relating to the maintenance of historic structures on highways such as horse troughs, historic way markers and street signs.

“The policy will define what a highways heritage structure is – which is no easy task.”

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