£9k vision to restore glory of Loftus war memorial fountain - March 25, 2013
A MAJOR proposal is under way to refurbish Loftus war memorial’s historic crescent wall and lion fountain head in time for the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The £9,000 plan has solid backing in the East Cleveland town where last Remembrance Sunday more than 1,000 people attended the commemoration at the high street memorial.
Loftus Community Forum, which has around 100 members, has applied to Redcar and Cleveland Council for listed building consent to carry out the work. A decision is expected around May.
The plan is also backed by Loftus Town Council, residents and church groups.
Billingham-based Impetus Environmental Group is providing a grant of £8,000 and £800 is coming via Loftus councillor David Fitzpatrick’s borough council funds.
The war memorial and fountain on High Side, Loftus, is in the Conservation Area and has Grade 2 listed building status, standing originally on Lord Zetland’s land, now owned by the borough council.
The war memorial was built above the pre-existing late 19th century fountain with cash raised by public subscription before it was unveiled on November 11, 1922.
Forum secretary John Stockwell said: “The proposal is to make good the facade of the crescent wall at the front of the war memorial and to restore the spout of the lion head fountain to its original appearance by commissioning a replica.
“There is no intention to have water flowing from the spout for safety reasons, as water cannot flow onto the road.
“Work on the lion’s head, a national symbol of Britain, will be by Geoff Robinson, of Liverton Mines foundry. A replica about nine inches in diameter will be cast in iron from a template, as the original is deteriorating.
“The fountain predates the war memorial and was a public fountain for many years.”
Loftus Forum has existed for about 10 years and has carried out many local environmental and town improvements.
Mr Stockwell said: “This is a key project to be completed later this year in time for the centenary of the First World War in 2014.
“Gaining listed building consent is a sensitive process, but we have much public support in the town for this project.”
Research is to be conducted by the forum into the names and families of those who died in the war.
Schoolchildren will also be encouraged to learn about the local significance of Poppy Day.