The history of the Coalville Memorial Clock Tower will be brought to life over the coming months thanks to funding from the National Lottery.
Working with local heritage groups, North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) has brought in heritage consultancy Heritage First to take the story of the tower and Memorial Square out into the community.
The Memorial Clock Tower, which was unveiled in 1925 to honour those who had fallen in World War I, is a prominent feature on the Coalville landscape.
A timeline of maps, photographs and documents illustrating the development of Memorial Square will be displayed around the base of the tower while the work is going on.
Local people will have a chance to make recordings of their memories of Memorial Square which will be archived for future generations to listen back to. People can also take the Coalville Clock Tower Quiz on the Choose Coalville website to test their knowledge about the square and the tower itself.
Children from Belvoirdale School will learn about the history of the square and consider its future as part of a project supported by Coalville Heritage Society. They will also be asking family members to share their memories of Memorial Square and potentially recording their reminiscences for future generations to listen to and enjoy.
A free touring heritage exhibition will be on display in various locations in and around Coalville, accompanied by a free brochure, and for people who want to know even more about the history of commemoration in Coalville, a special talk will be held in the autumn.
The restoration work on the tower will be complete by October, with no disruption to any Remembrance commemoration events.
Councillor Alison Smith MBE, Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, said: “The Coalville Memorial Clock Tower is such an important part of the town’s history and future, so it’s important that we work to preserve it.
“Thank you to War Memorials Trust for their grant and also to National Lottery players, who have not only contributed to the repair work but also to the community work we can do alongside the restoration.
“This is a great opportunity for local people, young and old, to learn about Memorial Square and our wonderful tower, to share their own stories about the area and to get involved with a wonderful history project.”
Michael Faulkner, Heritage First, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this exciting Heritage Lottery Funded project which will provide an opportunity for the whole community to get involved with celebrating Coalville’s commemorative sites and remembering the lives of the individuals behind the names. We hope the project will provide a legacy for future generations to engage with this pivotal monument in the town.”
Steve Duckworth, Chairman of the Coalville Heritage Society said, “Since 1925 the clock tower has been the central dominant feature of Coalville and the Coalville Heritage Society has a collection of photographs charting its history. Built as a war memorial after World War 1 it is today a monument to all those who have lost their lives in conflict since 1918. The Coalville Heritage Society is pleased that North West Leicestershire District Council has embarked on a project to conserve the clock tower and we are honoured to be partners in the interpretation and educational work that is being carried along-sidethe restoration, in the year that marks the centenary of the end of the Great War.”
Nita Pearson from the Friends of Thringstone, added: “We were delighted to be asked to help with research towards the touring heritage exhibition and brochure for people who want to know about the Coalville Clock Tower memorial and others around the district. Working on this project will help to secure information not only for the present generation but for generations yet to come.”
Roger Bisgrove, Heritage Researcher from Swannington Heritate Trust, said: “The Coalville Memorial Clock Tower was built in the south east corner of the pre 1895 boundaries of Swannington parish, at the point where Whitwick, Hugglescote, Snibston and Swannington parishes met before Coalville Urban District Council was formed. The project is an exciting opportunity to work with other heritage groups on an area of common interest.”