The concrete slab has been poured to form part of the base for the Purbeck stone obelisk that is to be reconstructed in Prince Albert Gardens in Swanage.
It was originally erected in the High Street at the top of Court Hill in Swanage in 1862 in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband Albert, who had died the year before.
It was the idea of George Burt, the Victorian benefactor, who was also responsible for building Durlston Castle and Swanage Town Hall.
The Albert Memorial obelisk photographed in its original position in the High Street in Swanage
Removed in 1971 to make way for housing
The monument survived until at least 1925, when it was photographed at its full height but by 1932 it had lost its top tiers and had been truncated. In 1971, with planning permission granted to build a row of houses on the site, it was taken down to make way for a new row of houses.
There were further efforts to resurrect the obelisk in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, in 1996 when Prince Albert Gardens was built and for the Millennium in 2000, but all these attempts failed.
An artist’s impression of what the completed work will look like
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, planning permission was approved
Several years ago the idea was mooted again and then in 2020, finally, amid the coronavirus pandemic, planning permission was approved to re-erect it in the far corner of Prince Albert Gardens.
The location is close to Peveril Point where Prince Albert is said to have disembarked from the royal yacht around the 1850’s.
Once work is completed the obelisk will be surrounded by benches and a new public garden of reflection, that will provide a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the panoramic views across Swanage Bay.
Work started in February 2021 and the groundworks are well underway
Hoped to be completed by May 2021
Swanage Town Council said:
“The site is owned by the Town Council but no public money is being spent on the reconstruction. The work has been commissioned by Swanage and Purbeck Development Trust and the Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre, and paid for by a private benefactor.
“Once completed the garden will be handed back to the Town Council for the future use and enjoyment of local residents and visitors alike. It’s hoped that the work will be completed by May this year, when there will be an official opening.”
More can be found out about the Albert Memorial on the Swanage Museum website
Work is expected to be complete by May 2021