With offices located in the historical City of St Albans, Hertfordshire, Labrums were able to support a local community World War One memorial project named ‘The Last Post’.
St Albans streets have over 40 Great War features including memorials that take many forms. Monuments can be found in the prominent locations of the city such as the Victoria Cross commemorative stone laid in St Peter’s Street, a memorial hall on Branch Road and the Verdun Tree in Waxhouse Gate. The Verdun Tree has a fascinating story as it was one of only 20 trees grown by a Reading horticulturalist from seeds of the only surviving tree on the French battlefield.
The most recent wall mounted piece is to commemorate 15 men who died during WW1 that all lived on King’s Road, St Albans. They were aged between 16 and 38 when they died and amongst them were 3 brothers. The plaques adorned to residential properties offer a private memorial to the local community that once resided there, the King’s Road plaque is the 11th one known locally.
Future proofing the memorial commission
The King’s Road residents led by Judy Sutton funded and commissioned a wall mounted plaque by artist Renato Niemis that is now part of the St Albans District Council’s Memorial Portfolio. Artist Niemis said the metal bricks depicting names, regiment and civilian occupation reflect those who died in the 1914-1918 conflict and “try and bring out the individual”.
The project took time as permission from the homeowner’s mortgage company and “future proofing” the memorial needed to be in place. The lengthy process for Labrums was to work through the challenge of permissions to mount it on a residential property and gaining ongoing rights of access to St Albans District Council for regular maintenance.
The work was undertaken by Labrums’ Managing Partner, Michael Labrum who said, “We were delighted to be able to support a local, community project at Labrums whilst working with St Albans District Council. As we are located in the city it brought such interest to myself and the team whilst researching the history as well as meeting the residents that are so passionate to commemorate St Albans’ legacy”.
The long awaited unveiling on King’s Road, St Albans
Resident and organiser Judy Sutton has since written a book with co-author Helen Little containing stories of the men, including snippets from the letters written home. One letter that Ms Sutton found during her research was a connection to Joan Stanley who is 93 and who was born on the street. Joan is the niece of one of the named men, Private Ferdinand Henry of the 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment.
Ms Stanley and Major Rhys Little from the Royal Anglian Regiment unveiled the commemorative artwork with over 100 others attending and showing their respect. St Albans City has a wealth of history, the 40 plus monuments and wall plaques relating to World War One alone can be seen whilst walking through the local streets.
The owners of the house where the memorial was mounted said:
“We were extremely lucky and grateful to receive Labrum’s services pro bono for the War Memorial. Michael went above and beyond in every way. It was an extremely long process, with many uncertainties and complexities. We felt safe and reassured throughout.”
Labrums were very happy to have contributed to the “Last Post” project.