• Client: Manchester City Council
  • Architect: Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture
  • Duration: Complete
  • Location: Manchester
  • Portland Limestone
  • 2no large Obelisk carved units
  • 3D surveying techniques used to replicate heavily deteriorated existing stones

Working alongside English Heritage, the Manchester Cenotaph project took five months to complete and is a real testament to the skill and experience of both our workforce and management team.

In 2013, Manchester City Council approved plans for the redevelopment of St. Peter’s Square. As part of the scheme, it had been recognised that the siting of the memorial did not work on Remembrance Day and that a new home at the north-west corner of St. Peter’s Square would provide the community with an improved area for reflection and attendance at the commemoration services.

The project also included the taking down and re-siting of the St. Peter’s Cross. The cross marks the site of St. Peter’s church which stood at this location from 1794 to 1907. The cross was removed as part of the St. Peter’s Square redevelopment and taken to an off-site facility for safe keeping, allowing the redevelopment team to include a specially designed dampened foundation. This was to reduce vibration at the new location from the adjacent Metrolink trams into the re-sited monument.

It was a great honour and privilege to take on the responsibility for the relocation and conservation of the Grade II* listed monument. For Vetter UK, the project entailed the dismantling, conservation and reassembly of the historical monument and the surrounding War Stone, Obelisks and paving. Prior to and during the removal process, detailed surveys were carried out to ensure that each element of the memorials were recorded to enable the rebuilding to take place to the same detail and accuracy. The disassembly process offered the opportunity to fully assess the stonework of the monuments and where necessary undertake conservation/replacement stonework where there had been significant deterioration over the years.

Working alongside the existing Metrolink and its overhead lines presented its own challenges to the team with close co-operation required between all parties, particularly during the scaffold erection and strip stages.

On closer inspection the wreath features to the upper level of the monument, and the fallen soldier that capped off the monument, were considered to be in a fragile condition and the original proposal to remove each stone had to be re-assessed by the whole team. This re-assessment resulted in a series of bespoke lifting frames being fitted around the features to enable them to be lifted off as larger composite units, rather than each individual block. The full process was detailed in a series of method statements and task sheets and engagement by all parties was crucial, including that of English Heritage.

To minimise the risk of damage to the historic stonework, the site team resorted to traditional methods during the stone take-down and rebuild by using Lewis pins which were then supplemented with modern day slings.