Looking After War Memorials
Do you manage or care for a war memorial or a memorial garden? This page provides practical advice on conserving, protecting and maintaining these unique monuments that stand at the heart of almost every community.
This page covers:
- Detailed advice on conserving war memorials and war memorial landscapes
- A link to Civic Voice's video on assessing and recording condition
- Videos on incised inscriptions: condition and legibility, inpainting, gilding, recutting and replacement
- Guidance on structural issues and repairs including two case studies
- Case studies on treating bronze features
Conserving war memorials and war memorial landscapes
For comprehensive advice on conserving and repairing war memorials and war memorial parks, gardens and landscapes please see our guidance on best practice on planning and carrying out conservation and management work:
Assessing and recording condition
Civic Voice have produced a film showing you how to survey the condition of your war memorial:
Sensitive removal of disfiguring and damaging soiling and biological growth is an essential part of maintaining war memorials. Our guidance publication on cleaning sets out good practice for cleaning war memorials, and provides a step-by-step approach to aid decisions on whether cleaning is necessary and the range of techniques available.
Find out more about cleaning stone war memorials by watching our videos on:
There is also a case study on cleaning the Cheltenham War Memorial which included hand and steam cleaning:
Conserving incised inscriptions
Inscriptions are fundamental to the purpose and significance of a war memorial. Given the age of most memorials, perfect preservation of their inscriptions is unlikely, but legibility nevertheless remains a critical consideration when assessing the overall condition of a memorial and establishing the need for any intervention.
Find out more about conserving incised inscriptions on stone war memorials by watching our videos on:
- Condition and legibility
- Conserving incised inscriptions on stone war memorials: Production credits
There is also a case study on the challenges of conserving the inscriptions on the Cheltenham War Memorial:
Structural issues and repairs
Understanding if there are structural issues and the causes of them is fundamental. Our guidance provides advice on identifying and diagnosing issues repair.
There are two case studies on structural issues:
- Grade II listed Waterloo Memorial at Bispham Hall looks at the deformation caused by metal cramps.
- Grade II listed Civilian War Memorial at Abney Park Cemetery, London looks at stabilising the foundations
Bronze elements are subject to soiling, deterioration and even loss. Three case studies look at surface treatment and replacement of missing bronze elements:
- Surface treatment of the Tottenham War Memorial’s bronze statue of Peace, a laurel-crowned angel
- Surface treatment of the Bootle War Memorial bronze statues and plaques
- Replacing missing bronze parts to the Bootle War Memorial
There are a number of different sources of funding for war memorials, particularly during these centenary years of the First World War. These may include bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and your local authority.
For comprehensive information on funding conservation work for war memorials, visit the Grants section of War Memorials Trust website.