Hagley high society host ceremony to cap it all

Lady Cobham with the time capsule at the top of The Obelisk before the final piece is lowered into place

Lady Cobham with the time capsule at the top of The Obelisk before the final piece is lowered into place Buy this photo

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HAGLEY high society went up in the world for the finishing touches on restoration work at a historic landmark.

Lady Cobham ascended 84 feet to the top of Wychbury Obelisk to oversee a capping-off ceremony which marked the end of a project to save the structure from collapse.

The 18th century monument, which overlooks Hagley Hill, is visible from as far away as Shropshire but after years being battered by bad weather it had become unstable.

Speaking at the ceremony, on Friday October 8, Lord Cobham said: “This is the culmination of efforts that were started by the local community 50 years ago to rescue this important landmark.

“My father thought it was going to fall down in the 60s, it is the most fantastic thing and this is a boost for the whole area.”

Restoration has been going on at the site since February with a workforce of 92 craftsmen removing and surveying every stone after a steel “corset” was fitted to stabilise the Obelisk.

Around a third of the stone had to be replaced with a Derbyshire sandstone believed to be an exact match with original building materials.

Before the cap was put into place a time capsule was put inside the Obelisk.

The capsule has items from youngsters at Haybridge High School including a Hagley Parish Newsletter, a badge from the village Guide group and, from 14-year-old Dan Sidaway, instructions on how to rebuild the Obelisk.

The capsule also contains a silver plaque with 2010 hallmarks and an Acme Thunderer whistle.

The restoration, which cost more than £500,000, was funded by Natural England who oversee 4,000 nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest.

Helen Trapp, Natural England adviser, said : “We are delighted Natural England has been able to support Lord Cobham in safeguarding this iconic monument.

“Without this vital restoration work the condition of the Obelisk would have deteriorated and this special feature of the West Midlands landscape may have been lost forever.”

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