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Thiepval Memorial

Restoration of the Thiepval Memorial

16 December 2014

An 18-month project to restore Thiepval Memorial, one of the Commission's most iconic structures, is about to begin.  Western Europe Area Operations Director, Richard Nichol, who is leading on the project with the Estates Department, explains:  "This is one of the most important pieces of restoration work that is being undertaken by the organisation for some time and will ensure that both the monument and surrounding landscape are ready for the Battle of the Somme Centenary in July 2016 - an event that is already drawing huge public interest."

Thiepval Memorial remains an imposing witness to one of the fiercest and most costly battles that was fought during the First World War.  It is known as "the Memorial to the Missing" of the Somme and bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men from the UK and South African forces who died in the area and, who have no known grave.

Thiepval was designed by one of the greatest architects of the early 20th Century, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and was unveiled in 1932.  Since then, it has been subject to the effects of adverse weather, exacerbated by its elevated position and height.  Recent technical surveys have highlighted a need to address a range of significant issues with the structure.  A landscape survey has also been commissioned to assess preparation requirements for the surrounding turf, to accommodate an expected increase in visitor footfall.  This magnificent monument will also be floodlit to make it a very part of the Somme night landscape.

Restoration will begin in the late spring of 2015 and will be completed before the ceremonies in July 2016.  The project has received additional support from the UK Government, due to the significance of the 14-18 events that will be held at Thiepval.