Angel memorial all set to return to Ford village in Northumberland after lengthy restoration project

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After an absence of two-and-a-half years the statue of the Archangel Michael is returning to top the towering column at the centre of the Waterford Memorial in the heart of Ford village.

This beautiful statue was designed by the famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also created the Albert Memorial in London’s Hyde Park.

It was erected in 1864 but dismantled in October 2021 after an inspection revealed there was significant damage to both the granite plinth and the limestone capitol which supports the angel figure.

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The statue and column were transported to Edinburgh for renovation in the care of Graciela Ainsworth Sculpture Conservation.

The Ford memorial.The Ford memorial.
The Ford memorial.

Further examination revealed that the damage was far worse than originally suspected and that repairs would take longer and cost far more than anticipated.

Painstaking work has been undertaken to restore and reinforce the stability of the monument. This has included reversing the effects of weathering, removing organic growth and restoring the brass memorial plaques.

This essential work has been made possible with generous funding from The Pilgrim Trust.

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This is only the second time the statue has come down in its history; in 1868, just four years after it was erected, the area was hit by a hurricane and both column and statue crashed to the ground.

A memorial in Ford is set to be returned following its restoration.A memorial in Ford is set to be returned following its restoration.
A memorial in Ford is set to be returned following its restoration.

Fortunately, no one was injured. The central shaft was reinforced, and the statue replaced.

The Waterford Memorial was erected by Lady Louisa Waterford in memory of her husband Henry de la Poer Beresford, 3rd Marquis of Waterford, who died in a hunting accident in Ireland in 1859, leaving his wife a widow at just 40. Lady Waterford moved to Ford and devoted the rest of her life to improving the estate for her tenants, constructing the school, now known as Lady Waterford Hall, and laying out Ford village in its present plan.

Although the statue and column were returned to Ford in late spring 2023, it has been necessary to wait for final works to be undertaken. Graciela Ainsworth will commence works to restore the statue to pole position on March 4, a process that will take around a month.

The memorial is now in the care of The Lady Waterford Hall Trust.

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