Flemish Minister-President Bourgeois subsidizes 3.9 million euro for restoration of 24 cemeteries
On 7 June 2017 Geert Bourgeois, Flemish Minister-President and Flemish Minister for Immovable Heritage, and, Sir Tim Laurence, Vice-Chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) signed a multi-annual premium agreement for the restoration work on 24 CWGC Military Cemeteries spread over five years in the Ypres Salient. The obtained subsidy amounts to over 3.9 million Euro. The first phase (2017-2018) is in full swing: 5 Commonwealth Cemetery, including CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery are currently undergoing major restoration, to ensure their heritage value.
Sir Tim Laurence, Vice Chairman of CWGC: "Throughout our history (eds since 1917), our cemeteries and memorials have been undergoing a natural evolution - they age, but remain true to their fundamental design and purpose, namely ensuring that those who gave their lives will never be forgotten"
The restoration works at CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery mean the dismantling and reconstruction of the entrance building, tool shed and walls. Every element is carefully taken apart and if possible repaired and re-used. To this day, bricks are made by hand and baked in traditional ovens. The bricks are carefully chosen by the masons to ensure that the cemetery walls have the same color palette as a century ago. Decade-old trees are preserved: Existing tree roots, in the proximity of, or entangled with cemetery walls, are not destroyed but the roots are protected and diverted. CWGC Artillery Wood Cemetery will also be equipped with a drainage system and the walls are provided with expansion joints preventing cracking. The latter technical improvements only happen in such way that there is no visually radical impact on the cemetery, preserving the site as it was designed more than a century ago.
Django Maekelberg, Head of Works Western Europe Area: “The emotional value of a hundred year old cemetery is enormous to visitors from all over the world. By receiving this generous subsidy of more than 3.9 million euro, we are able to preserve and restore these monumental places of commemoration with respect to the original cemetery plans and with use of authentic materials and techniques. Undeniably, it is so important to safeguard these priceless treasures for future generations to come”.
The work is scheduled for completion by the end of February. During the work, visitors are free to access the cemeteries. You can find more information on the CWGC website (www.cwgc.org
). The restoration work on the 24 CWGC cemeteries is phased to end in 2022. This project has been made possible with the support of Immovable Heritage.
The entrance to the cemetery in 1925.
List of cemeteries in the multi-annual premium agreement (spread over 5 years)
PHASE I: restoration works 2017 - 2018
- Ieper: Aeroplane Cemetery
- Ieper: Potijze Chateau Wood Cemetery
- Ieper: Potijze Chateau Ground & Lawn Cemeteries
- Ieper: Canada Farm Cemetery
- Ieper: Artillery Wood Cemetery
PHASE II: restoration works 2018 - 2019
- Ieper: Spoilbank Cemetery
- Ieper: Birr Cross Road Cemetery
- Heuvelland: Westoutre British Cemetery
- Ieper: New Irish Farm Cemetery
- Ieper: Tuileries British Cemetery
- Poperinge: Reninghelst New Military Cemetery
PHASE III: restoration works 2019 - 2020
- Heuvelland: La Clytte Military Cemetery
- Heuvelland: La Laitiere Military Cemetery
- Ieper: La Brique Military Cemetery n°2
PHASE IV: restoration works 2020 - 2021
- Poperinge: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
- Ieper: Bus House Cemetery
- Ieper: Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery
- Ieper: Minty Farm Cemetery
- Heuvelland: Spanbroekmolen Britisch Cemetery
- Poperinge: Gwalia Cemetery
- Ieper: Hospital Farm Cemetery
PHASE V: restoration works 2021 - 2022
- Ieper: Perth Cemetery (China Wall)
- Ieper: Dochy Farm New British Cemetery
- Langemark-Poelkapelle: Hedge Row Trench Cemetery