The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme will close next Monday as work begins on a major restoration project. The CWGC’s largest memorial in the world will shut to the public from 1 March 2021 as scaffolding is erected around the structure.
Throughout the work it will not be possible for visitors to access the name panels until completion in Spring 2022. While visitor numbers are currently low, we want to ensure future visitors are aware of the necessary closure when travel restrictions begin to loosen, hopefully later this year.
An on-site digital exhibition will be available for those able to visit the area. In The Shadow of Thiepval can be explored for free using a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet, and tells the story of the Battle of the Somme, the memorial’s construction and the men it commemorated on its walls.
A virtual display of the memorial panels will also be included in the exhibition. The adjoining cemetery, and the Thiepval Visitor Centre remain open as usual.
The first phase of Thiepval’s restoration finished in 2016 and consisted of repairs to the roofs, rainwater pipes and brick masonry above the main arch. The second phase starting in March 2021 will be a continuation of this work, along with additional drainage works, water proofing, restoration of name panels, relaying of paving and securing the outer layer of brick with thousands of brick ties.
This essential work will ensure this historic memorial will be preserved for generations to come. The project is planned to complete in Spring 2022. Throughout much of this period the memorial and name panels will not be accessible to the public.
Monument Group, a specialized restoration contractor, have been appointed to support CWGC to preserve the iconic structure for future generations, alongside architects Bressers Erfgoed.
Work had originally been planned to start in 2020 but was delayed due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
The Thiepval Memorial commemorates more than 72,000 missing war dead of the Battle of the Somme. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled by the Prince of Wales in August 1932.
We would also like to thank our French partners, La Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles (D.R.A.C.), La Région Hauts-de-France and Le Conseil Départemental de la Somme, for their approval for the works and financial support.