Panel on Thomas Clarkson memorial to be replaced

PUBLISHED: 14:02 21 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:16 02 June 2010

The eroding panel that is to be replaced

The eroding panel that is to be replaced

A DAMAGED panel on Wisbech s famous Thomas Clarkson Memorial will be replaced thanks to £27,000 of funding. The Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust has given Fenland District Council £20,000 to help it replace the famous Supplicant panel. The council

A DAMAGED panel on Wisbech's famous Thomas Clarkson Memorial will be replaced thanks to £27,000 of funding.

The Wisbech Society and Preservation Trust has given Fenland District Council £20,000 to help it replace the famous "Supplicant" panel.

The council will fund the extra cost, estimated at £7,000.

In tribute to the work of Wisbech's famous anti-slavery campaigner, the panel shows a manacled slave with his arm outstretched, pleading for help.

It has eroded and a new one needs to be carved.

A replacement was originally planned as part of the restoration work currently being done on the memorial but that had to be dropped after a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund was rejected.

Brian Payne, chairman of the Wisbech Society, said: "The monument stands in the middle of Wisbech and is visited by a growing number of visitors.

"It reminds us all of the terrible conditions that men taken into slavery endured and highlights the compassion of Wisbech's most famous person."

Some of the scaffolding that has been round the memorial for the past three months has now been removed.

Most of the £45,000 restoration work has been completed, including repairing the stone canopy, replacing missing stonework and cleaning the statue itself.

The only outstanding tasks involve the steps and the other panels; they should be finished by the end of the month.

The intricate carving needed for the new Supplicant panel means that it is unlikely to be ready before Christmas or New Year at the earliest.

Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council's portfolio holder responsible for monuments, said: "The whole monument is of historic importance nationally, not just for Wisbech. We have a duty to preserve it and it is wonderful that the Wisbech Society has given us this money.


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