Visitors to Wellington Monument in Somerset will soon have the opportunity to watch experts undertake crucial testing works. The National Trust, which cares for the monument, is working with a team of engineers to further test and analyse how best to repair the Monument, looking at the mortar and the stonework.
These testing works will be starting on 21 August, and running until 14 September. As part of this process, one day each week visitors to the monument will have the chance to meet members of the site and project teams to hear more about the condition of the monument, the work taking place, and the project in general. These open sessions will take place on 24 and 31 August, and 7 and 14 September, from 10am-2pm.
Ken Evans, National Trust Building Surveyor for the Wellington Monument, says: ‘In our more recent works we’ve discovered that the monument has some weak joints and bulging stonework. Testing the use of stainless steel bars and special ‘sock’ anchors will see if they will help strengthen the structure. We will also test different types of mortar recipes to see which is best to use for long term repairs.
‘It’s critical we get this right to ensure we make the best repairs, and it’s great that visitors to the site can find out more about this important stage of securing the monument’s future.’
Standing at 175 feet, the Wellington Monument is the tallest three-sided obelisk in the word. It was built to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The foundation stone was laid in 1817 but the work was dogged by problems and lack of funding – it was finally completed in its current form in the 1890s.
Helen Sharp, Project Manager, adds: ‘We’re really excited that visitors will have the chance to not only watch this crucial work on the monument, but also to ask questions of the specialists to find out more about the structure of this important local landmark.
‘We will find out the result of our second grant application to the Heritage Lottery Fund this autumn,’ continues Helen. ‘Should we secure the funding, it would safeguard the monument for the next 60 years and enable people to climb to the top and see the efforts of this current testing work first hand.’
The testing works at the monument has been supported by a grant from War Memorials Trust Grants Scheme, funded by donations from supporters and the public.
Frances Moreton, Director at War Memorials Trust said: ‘War memorials are a tangible connection to our shared past creating a link between the fallen and today. This initiative is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with not just the war memorial but the important works being undertaken to ensure this war memorial is protected and conserved for future generations. War Memorials Trust is delighted to be supporting the investigation work at this stage of the project.’
More information about the Wellington Monument and the National Trust’s ongoing bid to save it can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wellington-monument