We had been aware of the 6th Gloucesters memorial at its post-second World War location in St Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol for some time and had been keen to assess its state during the period in which the church was occupied by squatters.
Our concerns rose after the October 2016 fire at the church which destroyed the roof and damaged so much of the interior.
After the building was acquired by Norman Routledge, a local developer who plans to turn it into an arts venue and community space, Clive got in touch to enquire about the memorial and was told we were welcome to go and have a look! At the end of November 2019 we found the panels packed up in a crate up near the altar. Our sense of relief at seeing these was immense!
With building work ongoing we quickly sought permission from Norman to have the memorial removed by experts at Cliveden Conservation for assessment and cleaning. This was quickly granted along with an agreement that the memorial could be installed in the church crypt once the building restoration is completed. Norman also kindly agreed that we could provide interpretive information panels to tell the story of the memorial and the Bristolian men it commemorates.
On 16 December 2019 we helped the team from Cliveden Conservation remove the memorial from the church crypt. While the memorial panels appeared in reasonable condition, there was noticeable smoke, water and mould damage and the panels were taken away to be assessed and cleaned.
Thus far the costs have been borne from our own pockets but we have now calculated that the total costs for restoration work, transport and interpretive information panels is £5,000. Cliveden Conservation's work has already cost £1,770, a sum which is set to rise to £2,300 when the panels are returned and fitted in the crypt. Other costs are for interpretive information panels and an AV screen with moving images. We also plan to research individual soldier's lives and share their stories, both in the church and online. A full database of these men will eventually be made available.
We are seeking help to fund the conservation work and help preserve this vitally important part of Bristol’s First World War heritage.
More information on the history of this memorial can be found here: https://westernfrontfootsteps.wordpress.com/6th-gloucesters-memorial/