Cromer War Memorial, Norfolk was named as the Joint Winner of the Carving, Lettering & Sculpture category at the Stone Federation’s Natural Stone Awards 2020 online ceremony, 19th March 2021. Cliveden Conservation were the main and principal stone contractor for this award-winning project.
Designed by WD Caröe in 1919, Cromer War Memorial had suffered almost 100 years of erosion caused by the weather and the wind-driven sea air. Cliveden Conservation was appointed by Cromer Town Council to clean and carry out repairs to the stonework, create replica figures of the servicemen and St George and the Dragon, and carve an additional 34 names onto the base of the monument.
Award-winning stone carver Jem Hobbs fixed together broken parts of the figures in the workshop to create maquettes. Armatures were added to missing areas and parts of the statues including the uniforms of the servicemen and accessories like the airman’s binoculars were remodelled in mortars chosen to match the existing stone, using a mixture of hydraulic lime, cements, alabaster and stone dust.
“The soldier, sailor, airman and nurse needed new faces and heads, as their features had become completely eroded,” explains Jem Hobbs. “I could see some of the details on the original photographs but other than that it was down to my own interpretation and imagination. Hours were spent researching what the uniforms would have looked like at that period as they needed to be as authentic as possible.”
Ancaster stone was used to recreate the figures as a close match to the original. This stone was also chosen because it was fine enough to hold the minute detail of the 750mm high figures and their tiny faces. A mixture of carving techniques was used to create each of the statues including the pointing method, triangulation and the carver’s eye.
Lewis Proudfoot, Managing Director of Cliveden Conservation, is thrilled that Cromer War Memorial has won the Natural Stone Awards which celebrates the best examples of the use of natural stone in construction projects from across the different sectors of the industry.
“This award-winning project is testimony to our impressive range of remedial and preventative conservation skills and our ability to carve replacement statuary and decoration. The judges recognised the sensitive conservation cleaning and repairs and noted how the full integrity of the memorial had been recreated in time for its unveiling to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the great war ending.”
Cllr. David Pritchard who led the fundraising campaign to restore this important memorial said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Cliveden Conservation has won this award for their work. It re-enforces the trust we placed on them to carry out this work on the town’s War Memorial to the high standard they achieved. I recall being extremely impressed with their portfolio of work they submitted along with their tender and saw photographs of the work they had completed on stately homes, castles and palaces. From that alone, they were the obvious choice for our memorial.
Over a period of weeks, the people of Cromer saw the work on the memorial – which will be 100 years old this July, get closer to completion and the engraving of names of those who died in conflicts following WW1 was the final part of the works. The fully restored and renovated work was rededicated and unveiled to crowds of hundreds on Saturday 10-November-2018.”
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