Conserving War Memorials Case Study: The Conservation of Mortar-Filled Inscriptions

First World War Memorial, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

The Cheltenham War Memorial is the main location for commemoration in the Borough. It is remarkable for the number and layout of its inscriptions, and the extraordinary quality and precision of the lettering. Factors such as civic pride and the need for commemoration by the general public meant that Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) ensured that the memorial – particularly the inscriptions – were cleaned regularly. As with many memorials, this regular cleaning caused damage to the surface of the stone, resulting in the stone getting dirty more quickly and encouraging microbiological growth. The treatment involved the cleaning and delicate repair of the inscriptions. The project also considered how to break the cycle of repeated cleaning, to ensure that the inscriptions are retained for future generations.

This guidance is intended for those designing, specifying and undertaking conservation and repair work to free standing war memorials, such as architects, building surveyors, structural engineers, project managers, contractors, craftspeople, and conservators. It will also be of interest to those responsible for making decisions, such as local authority conservation officers, custodians or volunteer groups. It also indicates where to get further help and advice.

This guidance forms part of a series of resources produced by Historic England, to coincide with the centenary of the First World War. This series covers the overall approach to caring for these memorials, as well as some of the more poorly understood technical aspects. It includes:


  • Description and condition
  • Remedial treatment
  • Lessons learnt
  • Acknowledgements

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 10
  • Product Code: HEAG167


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