In the week up to Remembrance Day, eleven war memorials and war graves across Harrow have been restored to their former glory by a specialist restoration company.
Ahead of Remembrance Day on November 9, Harrow Council leader, Councillor David Perry visited the First World War memorial in Pinner and the grave of Captain William Leefe Robinson V.C, at All Saints Cemetery in Harrow and Weald to see the restoration work first hand.
Harrow Council has invested £80,000 to restore memorials across the borough for the centenary of the First World War.
The work was carried out by restorers from Minerva, a company with a national track record in cleaning up historic monuments and masonry.
Councillor Perry laid a wreath at the grave of Royal Flying Corps pilot Captain William Leefe Robinson who was awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down a German Zeppelin airship over Hertfordshire in 1916.
The pilot’s heroic feat – carried out with a Vickers machine gun loaded with incendiary bullets mounted on his Bleriot bi-plane – captured the imagination of the British public who sent the 24-year-old airman cash donations.
Captain Robinson was presented with the VC by King George at Windsor Castle on September 8 in 1916.
Despite surviving aerial combat and a spell as a German prisoner of war, the RFC pilot died in December 1918 after succumbing to the Spanish flu epidemic which swept Britain in that year.
Councillor Perry (Labour) said: “This weekend the nation will pause to remember the brave men and women from across the world who gave their lives for our freedom. I am always touched by the respect that is shown by the British public to our war dead. This year, as leader of Harrow council, I am in a position to do more than observe a minute’s silence.
“This is why the council has invested £80,000 for specialist restoration on those monuments across the borough that have fallen into a state of disrepair. Last week I saw some of this work first hand at Pinner memorial and the improvements are dramatic. I also had the opportunity to view the grave our of most decorated war hero Captain Leefe Robinson, which we have ensured is looking its best.”
Managing director for Minerva, Steve Moll said: “It was a privilege to be asked by Harrow Council to restore some of the boroughs important war memorials back to their former glory.”
The monuments were cleaned with a technique involving a jet of water, air and a powder mix which, through a combination of 150 degree centigrade heat and pressure, gently removes years of accumulated oil, grease, mould and grime. This process also protects the stone of the memorial.
The other memorials across the borough have undergone a variety of different treatments and maintenance, including grass cutting and planting flower beds.
Memorials which are being cleaned and restored.
World War One:
Grove Hill Road, Lowlands;
Pinner High Street, Grange Road;
Boxtree Road, High Street Wealdstone;
Wealdstone Clock Tower, Spencer Road High Street;
St. John’s Church, Rectory Lane, Stanmore
St. Mary The Virgin Church, Kenton Road, St Leonards Avenue
High Street Edgware, Ballards Mews
Word War Two:
St. John’s Baptist Church, Station Road, Sheepcote Road
Harrow Weald Cemetery, Clamp Hill
El Alamien Stone – Civic Centre
Pinner Park War Memorial.
Captain Leefe Robinson