Taunton Deane MP, Rebecca Pow welcomed Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society on his first visit to see the Wellington Monument in its resplendent, fully restored glory. The restoration project was kick started by MP Rebecca Pow when she secured £1m for the project from the Libor Fund. Now completed, the project is regarded as a model example in terms of monument restoration.
Standing high on the Blackdown Hills, the Wellington Monument, at 175ft, is the tallest three-sided obelisk in the world. A monument to revered war hero and former Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington was proposed in 1815 following his success at the Battle of Waterloo. After many hurdles the structure was eventually completed in the 1820s complete with staircase to the top. However, in 1892 the structure began to fall into disrepair and was eventually gifted to the National Trust.
Having made restoration of the Monument a priority, MP Rebecca Pow worked in conjunction with the National Trust and the whole Wellington community and the current Duke of Wellington himself, to progress the project. With donations and significant government grant funding to reach the £4m total work started in 2019 and thanks to a final £736K grant from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’, Culture Recovery Fund, work was able to continue throughout the pandemic.
Rebecca Pow MP said: “In a remarkable turnaround the iconic Wellington Monument, which I like to call the gateway to the Southwest, is now fully restored and open to the public once again. This was one of my pledges when I was first elected, and I am delighted that it has come to fruition. Not only is it a much-loved local landmark it is an important tourist attraction helping to benefit the local economy. It is wonderful that is it. Completed in time to be lit up to mark the Queens’ Platinum Jubilee and I’m so pleased to have welcomed the Tourism Minister to witness the achievement.”
Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: I was delighted to visit the Monument which this Government has been proud to support with a range of grants. It’s thanks to Rebecca Pow’s leadership and tenacity working with stakeholders and with superb local community support and volunteer help that this historic monument will be here for future generations to enjoy.