St. Modwen, the developer behind the new £33million Warwickshire College Rugby Centre has hosted a rededication ceremony for the newly relocated British Thomson-Houston (BTH) war memorial in Rugby.
Comprising a Grade 2 listed landmark monument and two memorial benches, the war memorial is a key part of the town’s history, dating back to 1921. It has now been relocated to a more appropriate location on the new spine road between Mill Road and Leicester Road, as part of the works undertaken by St. Modwen to construct the new Warwickshire College Rugby Centre and a proposed £120 million urban community, on the 82 acre former Alstom Industrial site.
Formally marking the relocation of the war memorial, a rededication ceremony was hosted for the local community by St. Modwen in partnership with the Ex-Servicemen’s Association which has worked closely with the developer throughout the relocation process. The ceremony, including benediction of the memorial, was conducted by the Reverend Clive Harper with support from the Salvation Army Band and children of nearby Boughton Leigh Community Junior School, who contributed items for a new time capsule interred beneath the war memorial.
Neal Haywood, construction manager for St. Modwen, said: “We are delighted to have facilitated the relocation and rededication of such an important war memorial within Rugby. The BTH war memorial is clearly highly valued by members of the local community as demonstrated through the support and advice we have received from the Ex-Servicemen’s Association and the interest shown by the children of Boughton Leigh Community Junior School. It is thanks to the support of all parties involved that the memorial has been meticulously restored to a standard befitting of the soldiers which it honours and we hope it remains revered by the local community for generations to come.”
Jack Birch, president of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association added: “The Ex-Servicemen’s Association is proud to have been involved in the process of relocating this important British Thomson-Houston war memorial. As former BTH employees this memorial is of particular significance to us and we have been very impressed with St. Modwen’s commitment to facilitating its relocation and restoration.”
Chris Paget, director of estates at Warwickshire College, said: “We are proud to host the Ex-Servicemen’s Association at our brand new Rugby Centre on such an important occasion. St Modwen’s have done a wonderful job of restoring this monument for the next generation, many of whom will see it daily as they come to college. This is an important monument for the community and we are delighted to be able to see it from the new Centre.”
During the relocation of the war memorial, which was overseen by project managers Wakemans and carried out by specialist conservationists Rattee and Kett, every stone of the memorial was expertly removed and rebuilt in its new location. In addition, St. Modwen has cleaned and restored the monument, reinstating missing inscriptions for the benefit of future generations.
Two memorial benches have also been relocated and St. Modwen is appealing for the families of the soldiers whose names they bear – Richard Hoppitt and (unknown first name) Johnson – to come forward so the benches can be newly engraved. Surrounding landscaping will also be completed later this year to ensure the memorial is sited in a location which lends itself to contemplation.