Calls to preserve Cobridge war memorial
HISTORIANS are fighting to preserve a war memorial attached to a derelict pub.
The plaque on the side of Bennett's Tavern in Cobridge commemorates 70 soldiers killed during the First World War.
Now friends Mervyn Edwards and Angie Stevenson want guarantees the memorial will be preserved or relocated, regardless of the future of the North Road building.
Mervyn, of Grange Lane, Wolstanton said: "Our campaign is about preserving the history of the area.
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"We want to make sure that the contributions of these men are duly remembered – for us that is a bigger issue than the future of the pub itself.
"As a piece of decoration is has its merits, but it is what it depicts that makes it worth saving."
The once-thriving pub, which has become a magnet for vandals since its closure two years ago, remains empty despite being sold at auction for £56,000 in February. It is available for development through estate agents Daniel and Hulme.
Mervyn, a member of the Potteries Pub Preservation Group added: "If there is any threat of demolition, the memorial will need to be displayed elsewhere in the area.
"In the meantime, the pub's closure means that it may fall prey to vandals or thieves."
Angie, from Longton, has tried to contact the estate agents to find out what the plans are for the shield-shaped plaque. She said: "We want to ensure that the future of this memorial is secured."
The plaque, dedicated to the men from the North Road area who were killed in action, used to take pride of place on the wall of The Junction pub – formerly The Railway – in nearby Waterloo Road. But it was removed by licensee Fred Bennett and fixed to the North Road Hotel, now Bennett's, when he switched venues in 1977.
The memorial was re-dedicated to the troops by vicar of Cobridge, the Reverend Chris Goodley, and Father Jackson, the Roman Catholic priest of Cobridge.
Fred's wife Trixie Bennett, aged 76, from Smallthorne, recalled: "We agreed to move to the North Road Hotel on condition that we could take the war memorial on the exterior of the building with us.
"Following some negotiation, we were allowed to, and we had the memorial polished by Autovent in Cobridge Road. We also had it restored, lacquered and framed. On Remembrance Day, we would put poppies and chrysanthemums around it."
The memorial was last restored in 2002 by Bennett's then landlord Andrew Dudley.
It reads: "In loving and grateful memory of the men of North Road and district, whose names are inscribed below, who during the Great War paid the supreme sacrifice."
An accompanying scroll bears the words: "This tablet was erected by the residents of North Road and District 1914-1918."