As originally brought to your notice via our "Gallery" page, the Society has become very concerned regarding the condition of the Pinnacle in the Rose Garden of the Castle Grounds. In the absence of any other initiative, we have elected to spearhead a project to repair and restore the monument and the following is the text of our first Press Release announcing our intentions regarding it.
Clitheroe Civic Society is spearheading an urgent project to see the historic Palace of Westminster pinnacle repaired and, on completion, to provide a full interpretation of this iconic monument sited in the grounds of the Borough’s War Memorial Gardens at Clitheroe Castle. Clitheroe Town Council have already made a generous donation towards the cost of the project from their ‘Mayor’s Fund’ and even at this early stage a private donation has also been made – a positive and welcome start to the process of obtaining the significant funds necessary to complete the project before the end of 2015.
The Palace of Westminster Curtain Wall and the existing pinnacles
The Society has set up a Project Management Team, which includes Conservation Professionals and Society Members, to oversee the project. Early contact with Ribble Valley Borough Council – the sites owners – established their enthusiasm for the project and for Clitheroe Civic Society’s initiative to co-ordinate the pinnacle repair project. This support was formally confirmed at their Community Services Committee Meeting on 14thOctober which has enabled the Civic Society to proceed with formal fund raising and building a broad, community based participation in the project.
A preliminary survey of the pinnacle undertaken in February 2014 indicated its deteriorating condition and one which, without urgent repairs, will accelerate and quite lead possibly to the pinnacle being lost altogether to the Borough. The effects of atmospheric pollution, which were the original cause of its relocation from London to Clitheroe, have certainly reduced and, as a result of its exposure to the clean, and cleansing, East Lancashire environment – a condition all who reside in Lancashire benefit from too - this process has been arrested. However the use of ferrous cramps embedded within the rebuilt pinnacle are now resulting in the splitting of the Magnesia Limestone masonry. This not only splits and loosens masonry as the iron cramps corrode and expand but the condition also then admits water into the inner fabric which, during periods of freezing temperatures, further accelerates the process of decay. The sooner these problems are addressed the less damage will be done and less the cost of repair.
The significance of the monument to the Borough is that it provides a direct link between the Borough and the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament). It was donated to the Town, by its then MP Sir William Brass, in 1937 to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI. Sir William acquired the pinnacle from the Parliamentary Estates Dept., during ongoing repair works at that time, when a number of these features, which had been adversely affected by London’s polluted atmosphere, were completely replaced. The ‘Clitheroe Pinnacle’ had been a part of the ‘new’ Palace of Westminster, which had to be completely rebuilt following the ‘Great Fire’ of 1834, to designs by two of England’s greatest Gothic Revival Architects, Sir Charles Barry and Nicolas Pugin. This was and remains a significant acquisition for a small East Lancashire Market Town many miles away from the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ and one which the Clitheroe Civic Society wishes to see retained for future generations.
An initial application enquiry has been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and it has been positively received with direction given as to what the HLF will need to see as a part of a successful bid for funds to meet the anticipated cost of repair. Other sources of funding are also being actively pursued by The Society.
An integral part of any HLF application and award is to see that any conservation project they support has the active participation of the community and that the educational aspects of such projects are fully promoted for the benefit of that community. To meet these essential targets CCS is seeking community partners in this project including from Junior and Secondary Schools as well as the participation of University Students and Trainee Conservation Professionals.
Alongside the physical repair of the Pinnacle the CCS will also be looking into the detailed history of how and why it came to Clitheroe and all this involved at the time. Assistance with this research is also sought from local individuals and Societies with interest and expertise in this field.
On completion of both the physical repair and the historic research it is further intended to present a fully accessible record of the project starting with ‘the Great Fire’ of 1834 - which gave cause for the new Parliament building - up to the repair of the pinnacle sited at the heart of the Castle War Memorial Gardens in Clitheroe in 2015. It is hoped that this can be made widely available by displays in the adjacent Castle Museum and the Town Library as well as regular progress reporting on the Society’s Website http://clitheroecivicsociety.webs.com Once again the assistance of - and participation from - enthusiasts and experts is being sought to assist with this vital part of the project.
An expression of interest in the project has also been made by the Consultants currently advising the Parliamentary Estates Department as they are keen to find out more about what happened to the several pinnacles which were removed in the 1930’s, how they have fared since their relocation and to advise on how similar repairs have been undertaken on those features which remain ‘in-situ’.
This is an exciting project for the Society and the community as a whole and anyone reading this initial report on the project and who wishes to be involved in any of the aspects referred to here are encouraged to do so as without such participation this project will not be possible and the pinnacle lost. Though much hope is being placed on the HLF application funding from other sources will also be necessary and the Society are actively pursuing all possible sources. Anyone or any organisation interested in financially supporting the repair and interpretation project is invited to do so.
15th Oct. 2014
Steve Burke Dip Arch (Oxf’d) AABC Conservation Architect
Castle Gardens Pinnacle Repair Project Team Leader
For and on behalf of
Clitheroe Civic Society
Unfortunately, within the time-scale, it has not been possible to make this e-petition available directly from this website. However, please don't let this put you off supporting the project. For just slightly more effort, you can include your signature on the list by contacting any of the following
Steve Burke, 01200 425528 or [email protected]
Len Middleton, 01254 822755 or [email protected]
Pauline Wood, 01200 429187 or [email protected]
Paper copies of the petition are also available for you to sign at Clitheroe Library and various other locations around the town.
......and probably the best opportunity of all, please join us at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Chamber in Church Street at 7.30pm on Wed 28th January when Steve Burke and Ivan Wilson will describe the whole project.
It was with a great delight and satisfaction that, as a result of the terrific amount of work so far put in by the Project Team, we recently received notification of their success in the form of approval for a financial grant of £55,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This together with £5000 awarded toward the project by the Lord Lieutenant’s Office and donations from members has been more than sufficient for a works project team to be appointed and for some survey and investigatory work to already have been carried out on site. The team will be headed by Dr. R. Martin Seddon of Chatburn and the Project Architect is to be Ivan Wilson of IWA Architects.
You can now follow the progress of the whole of the process of investigation, dismantling and reconstruction – text, photographs, drawings and video - at the following dedicated website
set up by the Project Team and which will be updated regularly throughout the course of the project.
A corollary to the HLF grant is, of course, that a proportion of the necessary funds must be raised locally by the Society and our two main efforts in support of this requirement are to be a Cheese and Wine Party at Downham Hall, courtesy of Lord and Lady Clitheroe, on Saturday 20th June and a Summer Concert on Friday 26th June – see the following posters for details. Please spread the word and support these two events as widely as possible.
The sun shone on a perfect June evening for 100 guests at the Cheese and Wine Party in a marquee on the lawn of Downham Hall. The idyllic setting has the serenity of timeless beauty and was enjoyed by all.
Clitheroe Civic Society held the event to raise funds for the Pinnacle Project. The relaxed and convivial atmosphere enhanced by the inimitable keyboard playing by Eric Ainsworth reflected the enjoyment of everyone. The Mayor and Mayoress of the Ribble Valley and the Mayor of Clitheroe were in attendance.
Thanks for such a successful evening must go to The Seafood Company and The Assheton Arms for the loan of the marquee. The Hon. Ralph and Mrs Olivia Assheton played a major part in all the preparations and organisation of the event. They were absolutely superb. Thanks also go to Eric Ainsworth on the keyboard and John Parkinson and Steve Burke for the sound system. They all contributed to the event in a major way. Thanks are also due to local businesses and individuals who supplied prizes for the raffle. Friends and members served at the busy bar. Members of the society’s committee worked hard to ensure the success of the event, particularly Dorothy Falshaw, Shirley Penman and Olwyn Claydon.
The event has raised £1000 for the Pinnacle Project.
Next Friday, 26th June, is the Summer Concert at The Grand. Doors 7.00, stage 7.30.Tickets £8.00 and £5.00 for students. Featuring The Grand Choir, Dylan Owen and Clitheroe Ukelele Orchestra. Please come and support us, have a great evening and maybe we can raise another £1000 for the Pinnacle Project.