ONE OF the country’s leading conservation charities has called for the return of “Sheffield’s missing war monument” - which has spent a decade in storage because the council are unable to find a suitable location for it.
The Victorian Society has garnered support from the Royal British Legion and War Memorials Trust in its campaign to bring the Grade II-listed Crimean War Monument back into public view following its removal from the city’s Botanical Gardens.
Designed in 1858 by the architect George Goldie, the Grade II-lsited tribute first stood in The Moor shopping street and began life in as a tall column surmounted by a seated figure.
When it was re-located to the gardens due to road layout changes in 1960, the column did not make the journey. It was removed from the site in 2004 and has remained in the city’s Staniforth Road depot ever since.
The society claims the council is breaching its own policy by failing to return it to public view. Camapigners want to see it restored with a new location so that it is in place for the 160th anniversary of the end of the Crimean War in February 2016 - but the local authority says it cannot afford the feat.
Christopher Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society, said: “Failing to find a new home for the memorial means that Sheffield Council is in breach of its own Listed Building Consent given to remove it.
“Crimean War memorials are relatively rare as the conflict was the first war after which public memorials were erected for ordinary soldiers. This makes the council’s decision to hide it monument away for over a decade, with its inscription dedicating it to the city’s fallen, all the more sad.”
The campaign was launched after the Victorian Society placed the monument on its top 10 at-risk buildings in the UK.
This week, the War Memorials Trust said it could provide funding for re-erection of the monument.
Debbie Harding, area manager for the Royal British Legion in Yorkshire, said: “We’d support any initiatives that ensure war memorials for all conflicts are accessible to the public and maintained for the purposes of remembrance and reflection.”
The council told The Yorkshire Post it could require a public fundraising drive to cover the costs of the monument’s return.
Coun Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We need to find not only a suitable location but also the funding to reinstate the monument. We would be happy to consider suggestions of where we might site this significant monument, but it’s important to recognise that we are not in a position to cover the cost as all our budgets are under significant pressure.
“Perhaps the Victorian Society and others would consider organising a fund raising effort?”