Saturday, 8 September 2012

Broken, cracked and ignored underfoot

Could this conceivably be a war memorial? Unthinkable.

A statue of Sir Winston Churchill? Certainly not.

Well then, maybe a handprint of Sir Elton John? Yikes! No way!

It's the memorial plaque to the Martyrs of England and Wales who gave their lives for their faith and the latin Mass.

                                 This is the plaque as it was 18 months ago 
                                 since then it has suffered much more wear and tear

It survives, (just about), in the central island of London's busy Edgware Road and Hyde Park; insignificant, unnoticed by virtually all who pass by.

Known only to a few Catholics and seemingly forgotten and neglected by the Catholic Church and Westminster Diocese in particular.

I visited the spot this week to say a prayer or two and was shocked to see how this lump of cement and brass letters had deteriorated in the space of two years, since my last pilgrimage.

It looks as if some seriously heavy earthmoving equipment has been over it a few times, the concrete is now cracked in several places and what was once an insignificantly placed memorial has now become almost unrecognisable, an uneven piece of the pavement.

I posted on this subject two years ago and even followed through with Westminster City Council who told me that plans for establishing a new memorial, monument even, were with Archbishop's House.

Nothing appears to have been done.

What would it take to get this project back on track? A will, certainly, a modest amount of cash (which, I am sure would be readily forthcoming if only someone asked for it) and a design for the memorial.

Not a faint imprint on a traffic island but, possibly, a replica of the original Tyburn Tree.

Is that asking so very much?


  1. Asking too much? Of Archbishop's House? I think so!

    God bless!

  2. Here in Durham a local group (Anglicans and Catholics) asked the (very lefty) council for a sculpture (by a famous artist) of monks carrying the coffin of St Cuthbert to be put in a prominent and entirely secular public place built by the Council to mark the millennium. The request was granted. If people are properly organised, and can present local politicians with a specific, fully-costed proposal for a specific piece of work by specific artist and for raising the necessary funds, there is (if the Durham example is anything to go by) a good chance of approval - even councillors unsympathetic to the Church can be persuaded by "heritage" and "promoting top quality local artists" arguments. Really it's up to Catholics who passionately believe in this to come up with a specific proposal and then to do the necessary fundraising and political advocacy (with Council and Archdiocese). That way the people who care about this memorial are more likely to get the monument they actually want rather than one chosen by civic or ecclesiastical bureaucrats.

  3. Maybe - the Lord's ways are not ours- given the stoniness of certain official hearts, divine providence has ensured that we be spared anything like the new Statue of JPII in Rome..........

  4. I wonder if you'll see this comment...when my husband & I and two of our sons visited England, we made a trip to see that little monument to the awful Tyburn tree, on a traffic island. That was in 2003.

    At the time, I felt like we were on a treasure hunt, and was amazed when we found it.

    Mark's comments above sound "wise as a serpent".

  5. Amy - it has not improved with age. God bless.