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Restoring the Helles Memorial

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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Mrt 2009 9:36    Onderwerp: Restoring the Helles Memorial Reageer met quote

From the bottom up: Restoring the Helles Memorial

Turkeyís Gallipoli Peninsular can be inhospitable, a place of extremes, its bleak but beautiful landscape scorched brown in summer, scoured by bitter winds and frosts in winter. No part of the peninsular is more exposed than the headland at its southern tip where for ninety years the Helles Memorial has stood overlooking the waters of the Dardenelles. In that time the weather has taken its toll on the memorial eroding many of its name panels, and underground tremblings from seismic activity have unsettled its very foundations. This year the Commission begins a major project to refurbish the memorial that will include the replacement of huge amounts of stonework and more than 550 name panels. The work, to be undertaken in stages, is expected to take five years.

Making preparations

Work on preparing new coping stones for the parapet wall has already begun A project of this size needs a great deal of planning and preparations have been underway for some time. The work must be staged to cause least inconvenience to visitors and to make the best use of the Gallipoli working season. Craftsmen and stonemasons must be found and engaged and materials Ė in this case huge quantities of stone Ė must be secured in advance. But stone types used when the memorial was first constructed are no longer available. The original name panels were in Hopton Wood, a British limestone that cannot be quarried today in the sizes required, so a replacement, Italian Nebrasina, has been sourced and enough secured to make the 551 replacement panels. Ilgadare a limestone quarried locally on the peninsular originally used for construction, copings and facings, is to be replaced with an alternative quarried near Antalya in southern Turkey, although it is expected that once redressed at our own cutting yard a certain amount of the Ilgadare will be reused as cladding.

The work

The memorial consists of a 30 metre high obelisk which stands on a terrace enclosed by a 3 to 4 metre high parapet wall on which the commemorative name panels are fixed. The work involves the parapet wall.

Plan of Helles Memorial

Phase one of the project will concern the front, south-east corner, of the parapet wall. This section has suffered movement over the years and needs the most work. The existing wall will be dismantled, panel by panel and stone by stone, down to the foundations and a new concrete wall, with a drainage system and soakaway, constructed in its place. The new wall will then be faced with stone and the replacement name panels attached with stainless steel fixings, a new system which will allow the wall a degree of movement without causing damage to the panels. Stonemasons will then build new stonework up to where the name panels start.

Phases two to five concern the east, north, west and south-western elevations where the walls will be taken down to the level of the sub-structure (the bottom edge of the panels) and built up from there.

Unavoidably, while each phase of the work is underway there can be no public access to the panels being replaced and for this we apologise. The timings of each phase and panels affected are as follows;

Phase one: 4 May-1 November 2009
External face panels 23-59 (top and bottom), Internal face panels 335-325

Phase two: 4 May-8 November 2010
External face panels 60-111 (top and bottom), Internal face panels 324-293

Phase three: 3 May-7 November 2011
External face panels 112-168 (top and bottom), Internal face panels 292-253

Phase four: 1 May-8 November 2012
External face panels 169-1(top and bottom), Internal face panels 252-235

Phase five: 7 May-5 August 2013
External face panels 2-22 (top and bottom), Internal face panels 234-216

The memorialThe quarry at Ulgar-Dere where much of the original stone for the Helles Memorial was cut

The Helles Memorial commemorates 21,000 British, Indian and Australian dead from the 1915 Gallipoli campaign who have no known grave. See our information sheet for more about the Commonwealth cemeteries and memorials of Gallipoli.

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