Undercover work refreshes cenotaph

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By Toni Williams

Lichen, moss, mould and other bacteria are being pain-stakingly removed by hand from the decades-old cenotaph in downtown Ashburton.

Cleaning work on the World War monument at Baring Square West, which was unveiled in June 1928, is being done by Christchurch specialists, Stoneface Ltd.

Owner Brent Robertson said initial work involved a general clean-up before a deep stone clean using PH neutral product to protect the natural stone of the 14-metre high monument. It’s around the height of a four-and-a-half to five storey building.

The structure will also be given a light agricultural spray to cleanse the exterior from bacteria, which was typical of any stone monument.

“We are trying to keep the value in the monument, the historical value, without being detrimental to the monument.”

The deep clean would show if there was any further degradation to the monument.

He said there was a bit of “social damage” visible with a few chips along some of the edges from general public use.

Large clumps of moss and mould were removed this week ahead of the deep clean work, which starts at the top of the monument.

At any one time there will be up to six experienced staff working on the cenotaph, which is under wraps and protected from the elements.

The maintenance is expected to be completed in time for Anzac Day commemorations in April.