Pupils act to save war memorial
Published on: 28 Mar 2016
CHILDREN from Fishponds Church of England Academy have become the first pupils in the country to make a successful listed building application for a war memorial.
The Year 6 students have persuaded Historic England to list the memorial in Fishponds Park.
This means that the structure is protected by law and cannot be altered without consent. Its details become part of the public record.
The Fishponds memorial to those who lost their lives in World War One was put up in 1920 at a cost of £600. It consists of a bronze statue of a British/Dominions infantry Great War soldier set on a granite plinth.
On each of the four sides of the plinth are bronze plaques recording the names of those killed. There is also an additional plqaue recording a serviceman from Fishponds who gained the Victoria Cross during the conflict.
The children, now in Year 6, worked with Bristol historian Jeremy Banning in 2014 – the centenary of the war’s outbreak – to research the people on the memorial. Several found the names of their ancestors on the plaques and some were able to uncover their stories.
When the students heard that Historic England had launched a five-year project to add 2,500 war memorials to the National Heritage List for England, they decided to get involved.
The children researched the condition of the memorial and found it in a good state of repair, except that the end of the soldier’s bayonet is missing. They then wrote persuasive letters to Historic England and cheered when they were told that their requests has been successful in securing a Grade II listing for the monument.
Michael Gorely, local heritage education manager for Historic England, said Fishponds CE Academy was the first school to make a successful request.
“I am very proud that their letters were able to achieve a successful outcome,” he said.