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Mains War Memorial, Dundee - vandalised and abandoned!
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dhubthaigh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have also contacted Dundee City Council about this.
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to be in Dundee on other business today, and after seeing these pictures this morning stopped by Caird Park. It is every bit as bad as Mark's photo's suggest, and I took other pics some of which I'll put up here and on on the FF site. After taking the pics I called into the parks department equipment repair depot near Mains Castle. They couldn't have been more helpful, and phoned around until they found which office was responsible. The office responsible said they'd look into it, but the chap at the Caird Park depot gave me the address of their office in Charlotte St in Downfield. So I called by there too. When I got upstairs the manager responsible showed me the name of the Mains memorial already written up on their task board, and that he was actually on his way along to the memorial with a camera to photograph it for a report - in fact we left the building together as he set off for Caird Park.

So, an excellent excellent fast response at this level so far. However, as he pointed out, money is going to be an issue. When his report on the state of the memorial is passed up the chain, the bean counters will come into the picture. He basically said contacting the press in order to pressure the council into providing funds might be the way to go. That and lobbying the Dundee Councillor responsible for the Ward (whose name escapes me). I also pointed out to him that, being located where it is, the memorial would only be vandalised again in short order if it weren't also moved. He agreed absolutely, but has no authority to do that. And the question of funding for moving it is again an issue, of course. I'd initially thought that relocating the memorial to the vicinity of the main Dundee memorial on the Law Hill or alongside the Black Watch memorial on Powrie Brae might be the best suggestion. However, having visited the site, the obvious safe place for a restored memorial to be placed is inside the courtyard of the Mains Castle. This has much to recommend it. The castle courtyard is enclosed, though accessible to the public during opening hours. It is covered by CCTV. And most importantly, I think, by moving the memorial into the Castle precincts this memorial to the men of the now defunct Mains Parish would remain in the heart of Mains. Lastly, moving it to the castle is only a distance of a few hundred metres - thus keeping costs down. The problem the parks manager foresaw is that, although the Mains Castle belongs to Dundee City Council, it is leased to a business. I think hat a publicity campaign which shamed the Council into doing something about the memorial might also - if necessry - shame the business involved into not objecting to the memorial being moved into the castle precincts. As Ian has said this is on our patch, and I think this is a situation where the organisational muscle of both our Tay Valley chums and Bob Paterson's Tayside WFA could play a key role in contacting the media and local councillors in order to move things along.

Some pics from this afternoon which sadly confirm the extent of the damage seen on Mark's:







From one angle, the memorial's relative isolation amongst a copse of trees is apparent...........



........leaving it vulenerable to youths from the sprawling post-war housing estates no more than half a mile distant:



And yet, from another angle, the memorial is within view of the Mains Castle, one of whose courtyards I've suggested might be a safer location for the Mains Parish war memorial:



It is also in relatively close proximity to Caird park carpark areas:





I'd suggest that the Mains memorial might be safer in either this rear courtyard of the Mains Castle:



This picture is taken from the rear courtyard of the Castle, showing its close proximity to the memorial's current situation:



Alternatively, and more securely, the memorial could be relocated to the fully enclosed-by-walls courtyard which lies behind the front gate of the Castle:



If a restoration of the Mains Parish war memorial is to go ahead, then it is pointless unless the memorial is moved to a less vulnerable locale. Keeping it within the old Mains Parish would seem best achieved by relocating it to within one of the Mains Castle's courtyards. As both the Memorial and the Castle are in the care of Dundee City Council achieving that ought not to present an insuperable problem.

Best,

George
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George,
Excellent pics and some very good points. I commend you on your swift response too. I well know how difficult these things can be. I spent many long and frustrating months saving the WW2 Memorial Gates in Rattray, Blairgowrie from demolition - having a new plaque manufactured and a re-dedication ceremony. Looks like there are plenty onside here. I hope that this memorial can be renovated and re-dedicated also.

rgds.,
Mark
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Murray



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:33 pm    Post subject: Dundee City Council Minutes Reply with quote

At a MEETING of the LEISURE AND ARTS SERVICES COMMITTEE held at Dundee

V CAIRD PARK STADIUM - LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS

There was submitted Agenda Note AN467-2005 advising that the Director of Leisure and Communities, as part of the Caird Park Management Plan, aims to improve the entrance to Caird Park Stadium. The proposals include the formation of soft landing to include the installation of the Caird Fountain memorial which currently sits on land held by the Scottish Executive and maintained by BEAR Scotland.

This part of the proposal would see the removal of the memorial from the Kingsway and stored within Caird Park Stadium to await landscape proposals which will be presented to the Committee at a later date. All remedial repairs required will be carried out to the memorial whilst it remains in storage until landscape proposals are known.

The Committee approved the proposals, in order to save the memorial from deteriorating further and remitted the Director of Leisure and Communities to contact BEAR Scotland to progress works.


The date of the minutes - 19 December 2005.

http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/minutes/fulltext?meeting_ref=3028

This is the only mention that I found (apart from this site)
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murray,

I noticed this also. But I think there is another fountain memorial on the Kingsway and I thought it referred to that.

Mark
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dhubthaigh wrote:
Murray,

I noticed this also. But I think there is another fountain memorial on the Kingsway and I thought it referred to that.

Mark


You are spot on with that Mark. The memorial fountain referred to is indeed the one situated by the Kingsway - in fact it is visible from the Kingsway on the grass verge between the edge of Caird Park and the Kingsway's dual carriageway. The parks manager I spoke with this afternoon mentioned that the memorial fountain (commemorating, I believe, the gift of Caird Park to the people of Dundee) is currently dismantled for renovation, with the iron pillars away for sand blasting. Given that, there is perhaps cause for cautious optimism that lobbying might also get the Mains Parish war memorial restored - though it must also be moved if it is not to be targeted by vandals again.

Best,

George
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Keptie



Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 722

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Caird Park Dundee Reply with quote

Is there a newpaper that records all the names on this war memorial as some of the names have been lost with damage /decay by vandals and the Council's lack of supervision of the memorial over the years

Seems wilful neglect by the Council as it should have been registered on its "books " of memorials to check monthly or annually at least and repair ...
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dhubthaigh
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Joined: 19 Dec 2006
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Location: Blairgowrie, Perthshire

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Caird Park Dundee Reply with quote

Keptie wrote:
Is there a newpaper that records all the names on this war memorial as some of the names have been lost with damage /decay by vandals and the Council's lack of supervision of the memorial over the years


I would have thought that perhaps an old Courier held at the Central Library in the Wellgate would hold something - although not all unveiling reports provide names. Though in some cases they give extra info. to that on a memorial!

I reckon it would have been unveiled on Saturday 22nd May, 1922.
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Ian Robertson



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
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Location: Broughty Ferry

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

See this report in today's "Courier" http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2009/04/21/newsstory12991535t0.asp

regards
Ian
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent Ian, excellent! If this disgrace had to happen anywhere it is perhaps as well it was within the area of the Tayside WFA and the Tay Valley Chums, both of whom have been fast off the mark to start the process of getting this matter resolved sooner rather than later.

The Scottish War Memorials Project has certainly proved its worth in this case through drawing initial attention to this situation on this gem of a website.

Well done all concerned - I look forward to the momentum of publicity being built up leading to a speedy resolution in terms of a full restoration and relocation to a less vulnerable site of the Mains Parish war memorial.

Best,

George
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Murray



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:53 am    Post subject: John Letford Reply with quote

Quote:
Lord Provost John Letford last night promised to look into the matter and make sure the situation is remedied as soon as possible.

He said, I wasnt aware of this previously but its sick and unacceptable. These memorials are important to this city and it is quite disgraceful that anyone would stoop to such lengths to desecrate them.


The state of Caird Park was brought to John Letford's attention in September 2005. The date written on the Memorial on one of the photo's is 2005.

Evening Telegraph

The Black Watch Forums

Dundee Forum
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George Armstrong Custer



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting Murray. This ought to be used as a stick to beat Letford and his administration into rectifying their years of wilful neglect of this memorial post-haste.

That 2005 Evening Telegraph article makes it clear that Letford visited Caird Park with Gordon Deans in 2005 in order to be shown the latter's concerns over the deterioration and vandalism there - including that of the war memorial. Yet as the pictures taken and posted here this week show, some of the graffiti on the Mains Parish memorial dates from 2005!

For Letford to now state, four years later, that I wasnt aware of this previously but its sick and unacceptable," is half right - it is 'sick and unacceptable' that his administration, in whose care it resides, has done nothing about the state of this memorial to sons of Dundee despite being aware of it for nearly half a decade. Worse, though, in the eyes of many, will be his denial of any knowledge of the problem before this week! All of which makes his comment that "These memorials are important to this city and it is quite disgraceful that anyone would stoop to such lengths to desecrate them, sound like so-much mealy-mouthed hot air.

Provost Letford, it seems to me, has a lot of amends to make over this issue.

Best,

George
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David McNay
Curator


Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 3608
Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an excellent article - hopefully that'll kick-start some action.

I'll update the Scottish Military Research Group blog tonight with an update.
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Ian Robertson



Joined: 20 Apr 2009
Posts: 24
Location: Broughty Ferry

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murray,

Many thanks for posting these links and the information regarding the last complaints made in 2005. This is exactly the reason why e-mails have passed between some of us on Tayside this morning, warning against complacency just because an article has been printed in the paper. Bob Paterson, the chairman of the local WFA branch, has been in contact with the local MP and I am awaiting responses from 4 councillors and a head of department. We are also of the opinion that the memorial should not only be repaired but should be relocated to prevent future abuse, something we think will be almost impossible in its present location.

regards
Ian
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David McNay
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've emailed the BBC News Scotland website regarding this. Hopefully bringing this to a wider audience will help.
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