Site visit confirms sculpture’s final location

Visit by members of the working group and the sculptor to the NMA on 2 March 2023
Barabara Marks reports

Looking past the Quaker memorial towards the intended site, which the working party discuss with Andy Ansell

Final Arrangements
Recently, Jeff Beaty and Barbara Mark met up with Peter and Katie Walker at the National Memorial Arboretum to finalise arrangements for placing the sculpture in the grounds. The choice of position had been agreed after a previous visit by Kit Byatt, Jeff, Peter and Katie in October last year. Peter had arranged for Alan Stanley, from ASBC (heritage & construction specialists) and Lis Hackett, architect, to join us in meeting NMA staff.

Fitting location
The group set off to the chosen site with Andy Ansell, Head of Estates at NMA, and Paul, the person who will be on the ground as the work is erected. We settled on one of the three sites under consideration, all close to the Quaker memorial to the Friends Ambulance Unit (see photos above and below).

A wide angle view of the Friends’ Ambulance Unit memorial with its surrounding path

You can see, from the photos above, the proximity of the two memorials. Also visible is how they will link up, with a similar gravel path circling the sculpture. This seems fitting. Although Pity of War is an ecumenical charitable trust, the original inspiration came Joyce Gee, a Quaker from Clun Valley.

The allocated position for the memorial is next to the main path to the NMA’s own memorial to Covid victims. We expect this will be popular and will thus lead to much footfall on the way past.

Measuring up the proposed site

The work began of measuring up and deciding which saplings and shrubs would need clearing for the instalment. This was just one hazel in the end, and Andy had made it clear on the previous visit this was not a problem. We discussed the type of stone to be used for the plinth and how deep the foundations needed to be on this sometimes damp ground. Alan will now cost this up.

The NMA expect to clean the sculptures once or twice a year. Peter assured them that the bronze would only need cleaning once a year. We will also arrange insurance. The current plan is for the installation to take place this July or August. The NMA allow two months for the installation but we are not expecting it to take that long. The NMA require a period of at least two months after installation before an any unveiling event. We have some thoughts about the shape of an unveiling event, who to invite and when it should be. The group will report on that nearer the time—our guiding principle will be simplicity.

We would like to remind everyone about the visiting Pity of War maquette due to be on display at Hereford Cathedral this November. We hope many supporters will be able to visit this.

Katy (left) and Jeff (right) on their way back to the car park, after the visit

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