THE RESTORATION of one of Otley’s best-loved monuments has been completed.

Otley Town Council agreed to take on responsibility for maintaining the Navvies Memorial, on Church Lane - which had been in need of repair for some time - in 2017.

The council, working with Otley Conservation Taskforce, then commissioned a repair and research project following a successful application to the National Lottery for a £34,900 fund.

The work that has just been completed to the Grade II Listed monument, which started in October, was carried out by historic building restorers Stone Edge.

It included:

*Repointing and the installation of a new roof

*Stone and mortar repairs

*A full clean and the removal of any vegetation between joints.

The memorial is a scale model replica of the north entrance to Bramhope Railway Tunnel which was built in memory of the 24 men who died during its construction between 1845 and 1849, and of all of the UK’s navvies.

The wider scheme will also include undertaking research into its history and producing educational materials - including a film and book - to help new audiences learn about its significance.

Town council Chair Councillor Ray Georgeson (Lib Dem, Danefield) said: “I am delighted to see the long-awaited restoration completed.

“I’d like to thank all the funding partners and Otley residents who contributed to the local appeals to restore the Navvies Memorial, which is a fine tribute to those who lost their lives.

“Their place in our local story is now fully restored and remembered.”

The project has also been supported by financial contributions from the Railway Heritage Trust, Otley Town Council, Otley Conservation Taskforce, former town mayor Councillor Nigel Francis’ 14+1 Appeal, and a donation by an Otley businessman.

Chair of Otley Conservation Taskforce, Angela Leathley, said: “After many years of hard work the Navvies Memorial is now restored and it is a fitting tribute to the numerous men who gave their lives in the construction of the railway network of this country.

“The project now moves on to the next phase and the release of the research findings, educational materials and film - which we hope to be in a position to do in the Spring of next year.”

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