2018 Restoration of the Memorial

In the summer of 2018, St. Andrews Church arranged for the War Memorial to be restored in time for the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The Memorial was moved to its current position in 1953 when the roundabout at the top of Porthill Bank was constructed. It had last had some restoration work done on it in 1994 and in the early 2000s when the wood of the Cross was treated.

From The Sentinel, Monday 21 February 1994 –

Return of Memorial

A War Memorial has been returned to its familiar resting place after a £1000 clean-up.
The 6ft oak crucifix has stood outside St. Andrew’s Church at Porthill for more than 70 years.
It was taken away in December for urgent repairs amid fears it could topple over because it had started to go rotten and woodworm had set in.

In 2018, the work done during the restoration included –

  • treating the wooden Cross
  • fixing the paving and steps around the Memorial
  • taking the memorial tablets out of the ground behind the Memorial and fixing them to the wall so they can be seen
  • fitting anti bird netting to the East Window of the Church so birds cannot perch there and mess up the Memorial
  • extending the paving to the sides and rear of the Memorial
  • cleaning the Memorial and stabilising the stone work.

The restoration work was supported by the National Lottery and Staffordshire County Council.

After the restoration was completed, the Church held two open days.

There were exhibits of WW1 era artefacts by Geoff Mayer (who has written extensively on the Wolstanton War Memorial), the centenary of the RAF, the centenary of Suffragette movement gaining the vote for women, displays from Newcastle Museum and Lichfield Cathedral, the ‘There But Not There’ Tommy silhouettes, WW1 era poems were read and the Act It Out CIC company performed ‘Letters of War’ play. There were also individual displays on various people’s relatives who were killed in the war and a display of photos documenting the restoration of the War Memorial.

We had our own display of our Scouts who were killed in the Great War and we spoke to a number of people whose relatives were commemorated on the both the Scout Memorial and the main Memorial and we showed them the Book of Remembrance and information on their relatives. In fact, a couple of people were kind enough to let us have some more details about their relatives lives.

The highlight of the exhibition was a cascade of poppies above the high altar. These poppies had been made by many local people including our Beavers, Cubs and Scouts.

Our Drums played at the beginning of the day and the bugles played ‘Sunset’ in front of the poppies. On the second open day the Drums played played the tune ‘General Salute’. This was played in St. Andrews Church on the original Armistice Day in 1918 by the drum and bugles of our Scouts.

After the drums played, on the second open day, the War Memorial was rededicated by Rt Revd Geoff Annas, Bishop of Stafford with The Worshipful the Mayor of Newcastle-under-Lyme Councillor Gill Heesom in attendance as well. As part of the rededication, the names  on the Memorial were read out by our Group Scout Leader, Nick.

One thing that was discovered after the restoration is that there are five names on the Memorial Tablets that are not in the Book of Remembrance and a number of names that are in the Book, but not on the tablets. This is believed to be due to the Memorial itself and the Book of Remembrance being compiled at different times.

Many people said that they were very glad that the Memorial had been restored and that the Church and the Scouts were actively remembering the men the Memorial was designed to commemorate.