Rand Regiments Memorial restoration draws attention

The memorial is erected in the memory of the men of the Rand who had fallen during the service of the British Empire during the Anglo-Boer War.

 

This after a post on Facebook prompted countless calls to the Ditsong National Museum of Military History from concerned residents worried that the statue was being ruined.

Situated adjacent to the museum, the memorial is visible from many vantage points north of Parktown Ridge, especially at night when it is floodlit.

Jonathan Stone, a heritage architect working on the project, said the City had budgeted about R1 million to get the memorial repatinaed. “We are very fortunate that the City is assisting,” said Stone.

Stone added that it was a coincidence that the memorial was being repatinaed following the controversy involving the defacing of numerous statues in South Africa. “In terms of all the controversy, somehow this just coincided. However, it has been in the pipeline since last year May,” he added.

Ivor Rimmer, a trustee at the Rand Regiments Memorial Trust said, “We have been through a hell of a process to find the right architects, and ultimately returning it back to its former glory.

“The company [Boltons] hired to work on the project have been specially selected to do the work.”

Stone said, “The bronze has been cleaned, which has been quite a lengthy process.”

Scott explained that an extremely durable protective coating was also used to ensure that the statue remained in a good condition. “The coating has been tinted to match the original colour,” said Scott.

Sinclair explained that the statues’ previous green colour was a result of a chemical reaction which causes a patina.

“The aim of the restoration is to get it to look like it originally did.”

He added that the memorial was erected in the memory of the men of the Rand who had fallen in service of the British Empire during the Anglo-Boer War. However, when the issue of the memorial was raised in 1904, the then-Johannesburg Town Council felt that such a memorial should be a peace memorial commemorating all those who died in the war, regardless of nationality.

Sinclair also noted that the restoration of the statue was necessary, considering the statue had been standing for more than a century.

What do you think of the statue’s current state? Comment below and let us know, or tweet us @RK_Gazette

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