HUNDREDS of people ensured tradition was maintained by marking Remembrance Sunday at Saddleworth’s iconic Pots and Pans war memorial.
And next year the hilltop obelisk should be looking its best after Oldham Council pledged to finally remove graffiti and restore defaced plaques.The Saddleworth branch of the Royal British Legion and Saddleworth Independent contacted the local authority to request action be taken.
In 2014 and again in 2019, the Independent raised the issue over defacing of the 97-year-old memorial.
Six years ago Councillor Barbara Brownridge, then OMBC’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Cooperatives, called it: “heartless, wanton vandalism.” She added: “We will look at ways in which we can repair the monument.”
Last year we were told: “As war memorials are listed structures we have to obtain suitable funding and then obtain the correct permissions before we can undertake any work.
“We will continue to seek the funding to enable this restorative work to be undertaken at the earliest opportunity.”
Clear signs of vandalism remain, despite attempts to ‘dull’ offending words with a number of the commemorative plaques both weather worn and scratched.
However, the Independent understands action to repair the damage will take place with advice being sought from a stone mason and a faculty approval request submitted to the Diocese of Manchester to remove plaques.
Cllr Brownridge now says: “Staff at Oldham Council work hard to preserve all our war memorials to make sure they look their best at all times.
“However, we can’t stop random acts of vandalism which ruin things for others.
“We will look at it again but because the writing has been carved into the stone it is not easy to rectify without causing more damage.
“Following the advice of a stone mason we carried out refurbishment work in 2019 including the dulling of the wording. But unfortunately it has reappeared over the years.
“Due to the memorial’s location and access issues we will have to get Faculty Approval and if required dismantle the stonework safely – a process that takes time.”
The traditional Pots and Pans service was cancelled due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus crisis.
However, individuals and families trekked to the ‘needle’ to pay their respects. A number of wreaths were placed at the foot of the monument including The Mayor & the people of Oldham, Dobcross Brass Monkeys on behalf of the people of Saddleworth and Saddleworth Round Table.
• The monument’s foundation stone was laid on May 19, 1923 by Mrs G A Schofield. The architect was Gilbert Howcroft and the builder C Winterbottom.
Construction work took around five months with the project costing around £2,000.