Hall Conservation Ltd

  • The memorial had been damaged during an attempted theft

  • Hole where fixing had torn through the plaque

  • Annealing the plaque prior to straightening

  • One tonne of weight was used to assist in the straightening

  • The plaque after conservation packed ready for shipping back to the client

Date:18 March, 2013

Project Information

The gunmetal bronze memorial to Manchester Corporation employees killed in the First World War, was damaged during an attempt to steal it from the depot in Princess Road. The bottom corners were bent and a small area of the plaque was missing where it had been torn away from its fixing.

In order to straighten the plaque it was first necessary to anneal the metal in order to relieve the stresses caused by the attempted theft and prevent further fracturing during straightening. After annealing, a rigid steel jig was made to which hydraulic rams could be attached and the plaque laid face down onto it. One tonne of mass was needed in addition to the rams in order to push the plaque to nearly flat, but a flattening tool and sledge hammer were necessary to manipulate the metal finally back into its correct position.

A small piece of brass was cut out and welded into the gap before recutting missing lettering and fettling. After final cleaning a microcrystalline wax was applied to the surface and the Memorial is now installed at the new bus depot.

The memorial is venerated by the Stagecoach staff and had been regularly cleaned and polished as a mark of respect, but unfortunately, repeated polishing had removed a significant amount of detail from the modelling. Hall Conservation Ltd has provided the depot with a more benign cleaning regime and the memorial will continue to be cared for, but without further unintended damage.