Victorian memorial in Northumberland village removed for restoration
Visitors to Ford may be puzzled by the empty plinth at the centre of the Waterford Memorial in the heart of the village.
This is normally topped by a beautiful statue of the Archangel Michael, designed by the famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also created the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park.
The Waterford Memorial statue and column, erected in 1864, is suffering from wear and tear and has been taken to Edinburgh for urgent restoration work by Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation Ltd.
The pillar and statue were dismantled earlier this month after an inspection revealed that there was significant damage to both the granite plinth and the limestone capital which supports the angel figure.
This essential work has been made possible with funding from The Pilgrim Trust.
The removal process alone took almost two weeks to complete.
While in the care of Graciela Ainsworth work will also be undertaken to remove organic growth and the memorial’s brass memorial plaques will be restored, to reverse the effects of severe weathering.
It is hoped that the column and statue will be back in pole position in the heart of Ford village at the end of October.
This is only the second time the column and statue has come down in its history; in 1868, just four years after it was erected, the area was hit by a large hurricane and the column and the statue crashed to the ground.
Fortunately, the collapse occurred within school hours, so all the local children were out of harm’s way in the nearby schoolhouse and no one was injured. The central shaft was reinforced, and the statue replaced, now standing proud for just over 150 years.
The Waterford Memorial was erected by Lady Louisa Waterford in memory of her husband Henry de la Poer Beresford, 3rd Marquis of Waterford, who died in a hunting accident in 1859, leaving his wife a widow at 40. Lady Waterford devoted the rest of her life to improving the lives of her tenants, constructing the school, now Lady Waterford Hall, and Ford village as you see it today.