Forgotten war memorial found in city hotel cupboard

Helen Creasy mends the Caledonian Hotel Roll of Honour. Picture: comp
Helen Creasy mends the Caledonian Hotel Roll of Honour. Picture: comp
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A DAMAGED war memorial hidden in the cupboard of a five-star hotel for more than 30 years is being restored to its former glory.

The framed memorial was found on the fourth floor of the historic Caledonian Hotel among a collection of old photographs and memorabilia by two members of the concierge team.

Helen Creasy, a paper conservator at the Scottish Conservation Studio, has now been given the challenge of transforming the commemorative plaque.

It’s thought the memorial – believed to feature the names of hotel staff who fought in the First World War – had been damaged, hidden away and forgotten about.

The restoration has been made possible thanks to a funding grant of almost £1000 from the Scottish Government-backed War Memorials Trust.

Dale MacPhee, general manager of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, said: “The Roll of Honour is quite unique and we were thrilled to be able to get support from the War Memorials Trust to help with the conservation work.

“The hotel’s history continues to unfold and finding this piece is quite amazing.

“Reading through it for the first time was an emotional moment for everyone here as we reflect on those who worked in the hotel before us.

“I’m grateful to the Scottish Conservation Studio for doing the work.”

It is hoped the paper memorial, described as being in a poor and fragile condition with a number of tears, will be hung back up in the hotel before the end of the year.

Caley bosses are planning to hold an unveiling event when it’s ready to take pride of place inside the luxury hotel.

Ms Creasy, who is working tirelessly on the piece, said: “This is an exciting project to be working on – especially ­because the memorial is such a respected piece.”

The funding comes as part of a £190,000 grant awarded to restore and clean up 21 projects across the country.

The Canongate War Memorial and the Dalmeny War Memorial have also been awarded £35,190 each to be restored.

And St Anne’s Episcopal Church in Dunbar got £22,670.

Frances Moreton, director of War Memorials Trust, said: “The charity is delighted at the level of interest in this scheme and the enthusiasm of people across the country to do something about the condition of their memorials.

“There are still plenty of funds available for the right projects so get in touch to see if we can help your local war memorial.”

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com