We will remember them.
According to one senior staffer in Fisher’s Folly, “The council does indeed have plans to restore and refurbish war memorials and any associated grounds prior to the First World War centenary.”
But beyond that, it is impossible to discover any other council plans for such a significant, poignant commemoration, the centenary of what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars”, and for which Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a “truly national commemoration”.
Croydon Council has secured some funding from the War Memorial Trust for the Crystal Palace Triangle memorial in South Norwood, and other memorials across the borough have been identified that are in need of works prior to 2014.
But it has been suggested to us by a council insider that the delays in developing any plans for the World War I centenary have been caused, in part at least, because Town Hall staff have been preoccupied with their office move from Taberner House.
Contacts in Arnhem, Croydon’s twin town, also suggest that there have been no special plans yet made to mark the 70th anniversary next year of Operation Market Garden, the parachute operation into Holland in 1944 which aimed at hastening the end of World War II but which ended in tragedy.
While no one would suggest that significant commemoration of historic events is wholly the responsibility of the council, some leadership, influence and perhaps even some modest funding from the Town Hall might have been expected to help the British Legion and other community groups.
We are firmly with Jeremy Paxman on this subject, and would not suggest, as David Cameron has done, that there should be a “celebration” of World War I. But as the BBC Newsnight presenter has said, “not to acknowledge the war’s significance would be wilful myopia”.
Seems that Croydon Council is short-sighted in so many ways.
Coming to Croydon
- Frankenstein’s Travelling Freakshow: Nov 5-8
- Poppy Cafe, Coulsdon, re-opening: Nov 9
- The Kings of Summer: Nov 11
- St Giles School open morning: Nov 13
- Secret Love at the Ashcroft Theatre: Nov 14
- Summer in February: Nov 18
- Much Ado About Nothing: Nov 25
- Future Tech City: Nov 30
- Comedy in Music show: Dec 1
- Steve Knightly at Stanley Halls: Feb 5
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Riesco objections: Croydon Council’s squandering our heritage (insidecroydon.com)
- Council faces massive compensation bill over housing failings (insidecroydon.com)
- WW1 centenary: cultural programme announced (telegraph.co.uk)
- How should we remember a war? (bbc.co.uk)