While working on behalf of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, WW1 Research Ireland discovered that names were missing from Ballymena and District’s War Memorial. Research by History Hub Ulster and a public consultation revealed that 172 names were missing. Cliveden Conservation were appointed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council following a successful tender to hand carve the missing names to the monument.
Summary of the conservation work carried out
Cliveden Conservation’s Somerset Workshop formed a team of letter cutters who would be skilled enough to undertake this project within the given time frame. All the missing names needed to be cut by hand onto the monument made of local hard carboniferous limestone.
Before the team could begin work, it was imperative that each of the 172 names were checked, including any abbreviations, and put into alphabetical order. A conservation team was established with the aim of maximising personnel on site to meet the deadline and to allow for regular breaks due to the physical demands of the project.
The letter cutters needed to work at awkward angles and positions to hand cut the names around the base of the monument. Having the support of a team enabled everyone to maintain focus as a high level of concentration was required to achieve complete accuracy. Each name was hand carved using traditional hammer and chisel techniques, in the same way that the original works would have been done.
The team of letter cutters led by Harry Brockway managed to successfully hand cut all 172 of the missing names within a six-week period. Work was completed in time for the rededication ceremony which culminated at the Ballymena and District War Memorial. The unveiling of the monument displayed the additional names of the local people who lost their lives during the First World War.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
“A rededication ceremony recently took place at Ballymena and District War Memorial, following the addition of names of 172 local people who lost their lives during the First World War. This memorial was first unveiled in the Memorial Park on Armistice Day, 11 November 1924, creating a local focus for communal reflection and Acts of Remembrance. We sincerely thank all those involved in this incredibly important project. By being permanently recognised alongside their fallen comrades, the additional names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice have that equality in death and our esteem.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Lindsay Millar