The easing of lockdown came right on time for the official rededication of the restored World War One Memorial at Springbourne Homes’ Hornsey Rise site – exactly 100 years after it was first unveiled.
It ensured the perfect finale to a painstaking two and a half year quest by chairman Adrian Burr to renovate the desecrated and damaged monument in time for its centenary.
Adrian first discovered the overgrown and abandoned memorial shortly after acquiring the site in Bosworth Road, Wellsborough, near Market Bosworth, and in 2018 began a nationwide appeal for information on its origins, as shown here.Adrian recalled: “It was covered in brambles, weeds and graffiti, its plaque had been stolen and it was in a very sorry state.
“Clearly it was a monument but it wasn’t until I launched a nationwide appeal for information that I finally discovered its full story and significance.”
The appeal proved a resounding success. The archives at a London Library revealed that the Memorial had been erected in 1921 in memory of 380 members of the NATSOPA printers union who were killed in WW1 between 1914-1918.
Old photographs showed it had been the centre piece of a Remembrance Garden at the former NATSOPA Memorial Care Home which had once stood on the Wellsborough site. A book charting the history of the NATSOPA union also provided all the names of the 380 victims.
Adrian immediately commissioned the renovation and relocation of the imposing granite relic into a new Peace Garden at Hornsey Rise and held an uplifting rededication ceremony on Monday March 29, fittingly on the centenary of the opening of the old Memorial Home.
He added: “We desperately wanted to celebrate the Memorial’s restoration and relocation on its centenary but the Covid restrictions had us really sweating over whether the timing would be right.
“It turned out to be perfect and I’m so happy and relieved that we managed to make it happen exactly 100 years after it was first unveiled.
“At Springbourne Homes we always strive to do the right thing which is why we’re so pleased to have been able to safeguard an important part of the history and heritage of our Hornsey Rise site.
“Hopefully the Memorial will now still have pride of place here in another 100 years.”
BBC TV filmed the rededication ceremony which included VIP guests Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of the Unite union, which absorbed Natsopa, David Humberston from the At Risk War Memorials Project and Valerie Jacques of the Western Front Association.
Ann Field, from London’s Marx Memorial Library, whose research was so valuable to the restoration project, also attended alongside local historian Nigel Palmer from the Market Bosworth Society.
Unite union chief Burke said: “It is wonderful to see this memorial restored and resplendent again so we can once again commemorate the sacrifice of the NATSOPA print workers who sadly lost their lives in the first world war.”
Humberston said: “Far too often we hear of memorials being lost forever and far too rarely do we hear of companies or individuals investing both time and money to preserve the history of a Memorial and the memory of the men it commemorates.
“The role of Adrian Burr and his company Springbourne Homes in both reconstructing and researching this NATSOPA Memorial is therefore exceptional and worthy of the highest praise.” Adrian has even created this QR code to ensure the full history of the Memorial, the NATSOPA Care Home and the Hornsey Rise site is now accessible to all. For additional information visit: www.springbournehomes.co.uk