Worries over future of North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court war memorials
WAR veterans and residents are joining forces to save memorials dedicated to a town's fallen soldiers.
The future of four plaques hanging at North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court have been thrown into doubt after the 126-year-old building shut last week.
Now a campaign has been launched to ensure they can remain in the community.
Great Fenton Community Association is asking for suggestions for where to display the memorials, which include the names of around 700 Fentonians killed in the Boer War and world wars.
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Association chairman Glenn Parkes, aged 55, of Temple Street, Fenton, said: "There would be uproar if the memorials were destroyed. They are part of the town and wider city's heritage."
One of the memorials is listed, but there is nothing in writing to protect the other three.
The association has now submitted an application to English Heritage to secure conservation status for all the plaques.
Mr Parkes added: "We think the First World War memorial was made out of Minton tiles and if so, it could be quite valuable and rare.
"But a lot of everyday people won't have seen it because it's been tucked away in the court house for the last 30 or 40 years.
"I think they would be surprised at the size of it.
"Now the magistrates' court is closed, we hope the building can be put to good use so the memorials can take pride of place again."
Peter Hopwood, secretary of Fenton and District Branch of the Staffordshire Regiment Association, visited the Baker Street court last week to take photos of the memorials.
The 73-year-old, who served with the North Staffordshire Regiment from 1957 to 1963, said the plaques should be preserved for future generations.
Mr Hopwood, of Robinson Road, Trentham, said: "The memorials hold the names of soldiers who gave their lives for everyone who is alive today. They are part of our history and they must be preserved."
The court closed on Thursday after 173 years of delivering justice in the town. Cases will be heard at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle from today.