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
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.