The ground has been broken for work to begin on a World War I memorial thought to be the first of its kind in the country, following the poignant centenary of the day the guns fell silent.
Councillor Liaqat Ali, The Mayor of Nottingham and Councillor Sue Saddington, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, met to break ground at Victoria Embankment, where a new War Memorial will display the names of the 14,000 fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians from across the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire area during World War I.
Work will continue over winter and spring, with the memorial likely to be revealed and open to the public in summer 2019, in time for Armed Forces Day.
The new memorial will be an elevated, circular design allowing a protected space for reflection. A 5 metre high inscribed monument will feature in the middle of the memorial, explaining the purpose of the memorial and with space lower down for poppies to be placed in the lead up to future Remembrance Days and other events. Lighting underneath these holes will create a stunning effect at night for visitors.
Currently, there are hundreds of individual memorials to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s Great War fallen, scattered across the county and further afield in parks, workplaces, churches and other locations – but nowhere that brings together all of their names in one place.
Names of the fallen will be etched into the circular stone surrounding the monument, with lighting atop the ring to illuminate the surface and the names to attract visitors and to allow quiet reflection at any time. Space has been built in to the monument for wreaths, poppies and memorials, and the names will be visible for both able and disabled visitors.
The memorial is being commissioned by Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, working with the seven district and borough councils, Gedling, Rushcliffe, Newark and Sherwood, Bassetlaw, Ashfield, Broxtowe and Mansfield.
£80,000 is being raised for the project through fundraising to support the commission of the memorial. Local businesses and residents from across Nottinghamshire are being encouraged to contribute, which can be done online at http://nosf.org.uk/roll-of-honour.html
Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Breaking ground on this memorial today is our commitment to those who valiantly fought and gave their lives for King and Country in World War I, and in honour of their sacrifice.
“While there are other, local memorials, and places where people can pay tribute, we and our county colleagues feel that the war united us as a city and county and a memorial which paid tribute to that unity, camaraderie and spirit was an important endeavour. I look forward to seeing progress and the final memorial in the near future.”
Councillor Kay Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council (or Councillor Keith Girling, Armed Forces Champion at Nottinghamshire County Council), said: “The outpouring of emotional tributes and remembrance events over the last few days, weeks and for many years previous show that this country and our county holds its armed forces in high esteem. We remain eternally grateful for the sacrifices they have made – and continue to make – on our behalf.
“The new memorial will be a powerful, moving and unique symbol of our appreciation to the 14,000 local men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War and be a focal point for county and city residents to say thank you.”