Image showing the cleaning of bronze statuary on a a war memorial with super-heated water.
Cleaning bronze statuary on a war memorial with super-heated water © Rupert Harris Conservation Ltd
Cleaning bronze statuary on a war memorial with super-heated water © Rupert Harris Conservation Ltd

Looking After War Memorials

Do you manage or care for a war memorial or a memorial garden? This page provides practical advice on conserving, protecting and maintaining these unique monuments that stand at the heart of almost every community.

This page covers:

Conserving war memorials and war memorial landscapes

For comprehensive advice on conserving and repairing war memorials and war memorial parks, gardens and landscapes please see our guidance on best practice on planning and carrying out conservation and management work:

Assessing and recording condition

Civic Voice has produced a film showing how to survey the condition of your war memorial:

Watch Civic Voice's condition survey tutorial


Sensitive removal of disfiguring and damaging soiling and biological growth is an essential part of maintaining war memorials.

Find out more about cleaning stone war memorials by watching our videos on:

There is also a case study on cleaning the Cheltenham War Memorial which included hand and steam cleaning:

Conserving inscriptions

Inscriptions are fundamental to the purpose and significance of a war memorial. Given the age of most memorials, perfect preservation of their inscriptions is unlikely, but legibility nevertheless remains a critical consideration when assessing the overall condition of a memorial and establishing the need for any intervention.

See our guidance on best practice when conserving inscriptions:

Find out  more about conserving incised inscriptions on stone war memorials by watching our videos on:

There is also a case study on the challenges of conserving the inscriptions on the Cheltenham War Memorial:

Structural issues and repairs

Understanding if there are structural issues and the causes of them is fundamental. Our guidance provides advice on identifying and diagnosing issues repair.

There are two case studies on structural issues:

  • Grade II listed Waterloo Memorial at Bispham Hall looks at the deformation caused by metal cramps.
  • Grade II listed Civilian War Memorial at Abney Park Cemetery, London  looks at stabilising the foundations

Bronze features

Bronze elements are subject to soiling, deterioration and even loss.  Three case studies look at surface treatment and replacement of missing bronze elements:

  • Surface treatment of the Tottenham War Memorial’s bronze statue of Peace, a laurel-crowned angel
  • Surface treatment of the Bootle War Memorial bronze statues and plaques
  • Replacing missing bronze parts to the Bootle War Memorial


There are a number of different sources of funding for war memorials, particularly during these centenary years of the First World War. These may include bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and your local authority.

For comprehensive information on funding conservation work for war memorials, visit the Grants section of War Memorials Trust website.

Learn more

View the webinars:

Conserving war memorials: Part 1
War memorials are found throughout England and are not only significant to the local community, but also as heritage assets. This webinar provides an introduction to war memorials: heritage significance, statutory permissions, common defects and approaches to conservation.

Conserving war memorials: Part 2
War memorials are commonly made of stone and metal. Understanding these materials is the key to caring for them. This webinar discusses the conservation approach to cleaning, repairing and maintaining these materials in the context of these significant heritage assets.

For the best webinar experience, please use Google Chrome browser or download Adobe Connect.

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