A new display shines a light on the maintenance and restoration of Belgium’s Commonwealth War Cemeteries
A century of caring is a new display at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Ieper Information Centre, highlighting 100 years of work by the Commission in Belgium.
Louise Dujardin and Sarah Camerlynck
The display is launched in conjunction with a large-scale renovation project on 24 Commonwealth cemeteries in the Ypres Salient, supported by a grant from the Flemish Government.
It will tell the story of the building and maintenance of these iconic sites of remembrance and pilgrimage.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is staging a new display in its Ieper Information Centre, opening on 25 April 2018. A Century of Caring, will look back on 100 years of tending for the CWGC’s Belgian sites. Visitors will be able to take a look behind the scenes of CWGC, showing the extraordinary work undertaken to maintain these internationally significant sites. The display will explore how the cemeteries were built during the First World War and the current restoration projects taking place across 2018.
Bovenaan Richard Nichol en ondeaan Sarah Camerlynck
In addition to the usual maintenance undertaken by the CWGC to keep its cemeteries and memorials pristine, the Commission is also facing the challenge of maintaining and conserving 100 year old structures. Restoration therefore becomes more important to preserve the heritage value of the Commission’s original vision.
Django Maekelberg, hoofd infrastructuurwerken
In 2017 the CWGC was awarded a heritage premium of 3,915,393.60 Euro from the Flemish Government to support its conservation work in Belgium. This enabled it undertake a large-scale restoration project of 24 Commonwealth cemeteries in the Ypres Salient. The project is spread over five stages, starting in 2017 and finishing in 2022. The first phase was successfully completed with the restoration of 5 cemeteries in near Ieper. The second phase starts in May 2018 and will restore the following sites:
- Spoilbank Cemetery
- Birr Cross Road Cemetery
- New Irish Farm Cemetery
- Tuileries British Cemetery
- Reninghelst New Military Cemetery
Sarah Camerlynck, Conservation Supervisor, WEA: “In my role as conservation supervisor safeguarding the authentic structures of a sometimes more than 100 year old cemetery means also conserving the memories of those who are buried or commemorated at those sites. It means that not only current generations but also future generations will be able to keep commemorating those who have given their lives for our freedom.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public without registration at the CWGC’s Ieper information Centre (Menenstraat 33-8900 Ieper) starting from April 25 2018. The center is open every weekday (except on Mondays) from 13 h to 21 h. On Friday and Saturday open from 10 h to 21 h.