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Opinion : Should the Marlow Obelisk be moved before a juggernaut knocks it over?

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An articulated juggernaut negotiates its way gingerly around the Marlow Obelisk.

Every town has its historic buildings, statues, monuments and the like left from bygone years.

One such monument is the Obelisk which stands at the end of the High Street in Marlow.

Made of Portland stone topped with limestone the structure was erected in 1822 by the Trustees of the Reading and Hatfield Road. The Obelisk was originally intended to act as a mile stone and sign post with directions on each side of the base.

The Obelisk may have been afforded a Grade II listing back in July 1949, however traffic conditions have changed in the intervening years and the structure now finds itself as the centre of a roundabout at the junction of the High Street, Spittall Street and West Street.

The Marlow Obelisk.

An article recently appeared in the news section of this site entitled ‘Overnight investigative work to be carried out on the Marlow obelisk on Wed 23rd Aug 2017‘.

It seems the Obelisk is in need of repair and some investigatory works are to take place shortly ahead of three weeks of conservation work due to take place on the Obelisk starting in October 2017.

Recently my good self visited Marlow and decided to take a look at the Obelisk for myself.

As yours truly stood there with my trusty electric camera in my hand I was surprised at the precarious position in which the Obelisk stands. With cars, vans and lorries whizzing around it the Obelisk stands in perfect isolation in the middle of a busy junction just waiting to be knocked over.

While yours truly was standing beside the road a passing articulated juggernaut approached from the direction of Marlow Bridge. As the extremely large lorry negotiated its way around the stone monument the sound of air brakes being applied filled the air as the driver of the lorry tried to get the juggernaut around safely.

Suddenly the lorry stopped completely with a huge ‘hissss’ from it’s powerful brakes. ‘By George!‘ I exclaimed, fearing the lorry had knocked the Obelisk over.

Luckily the lorry had not struck the stone pillar, however it was a near thing.

Traffic restrictions will be in place while work takes place on the Marlow Obelisk.

Surely the Marlow Obelisk needs to be moved to a safer place close by at the side of the road? Why is money being spent on conservation work to restore what is no more than a giant skittle just waiting to be toppled?

If a similar monument was in Wycombe it would have been moved years ago so why on earth hasn’t the Obelisk in Marlow been moved to a safer place before now?

It may look quaint and old world but we need to face facts, money should not be wasted on ‘King Canute’ style conservation projects to restore stone monuments that are literally in the way of modern life.

The money soon to be spent on conservation should be used to move the Obelisk to a safer place rather than to restore it only for the structure to be smashed to smithereens by a passing juggernaut.

What do you think?

My blogs are published every Tuesday and Friday evening around 8.00pm here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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