WISBECH: Council submits plans for £100,000 make over of Thomas Clarkson memorial
PLANS for the £100,000 refurbishment of the Clarkson Memorial in Wisbech have been drawn up to ensure work of the highest quality and the minimal impact on the surrounding area. Fenland District Council says the work will mainly involve cleaning off green
PLANS for the £100,000 refurbishment of the Clarkson Memorial in Wisbech have been drawn up to ensure work of the highest quality and the minimal impact on the surrounding area.
Fenland District Council says the work will mainly involve cleaning off green algae, moss and dirt, replacement of missing stonework, pointing with lime mortar and repairs to the relief panels.
English Heritage provided £10,000 towards a structural survey and now lottery funding and money from the council itself is expected to pay for the major overhaul.
The Grade Two listed structure is in a conservation area and was built in 1880-81 to commemorate the life of Thomas Clarkson who was born in Wisbech and was a central figure in the campaign against the slave trade in the British Empire.
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It was built on the site of the old Customs House which before that was the Butter Market.
The memorial was paid for mainly by the Peckover family with the rest made up from public subscriptions. The total cost was £2,035.
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It was designed in a Victorian gothic style in two storeys with a statue of Thomas Clarkson covered by a spire topped canopy.
A report to Fenland District Council Planning Committee says: "The result is an elegant and stately landmark and fitting tribute to this great campaigner and idealist."
The site of the memorial, a traffic island, is owned and maintained by Fenland District Council, apart from the wine cellar access and vaults below.
Brian Payne of the Wisbech Society said: "The memorial was put up in 1881, paid for by national public subscription.
"Thomas Clarkson did the majority of the work behind the scenes to see that slavery was abolished and William Wilberforce took the majority of the credit.