Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Memorial to town benefactor in ‘disgraceful’ state

A MEMORIAL to Sir Frank Crisp, one of Henley’s benefactors, is to be restored at a cost of £800.

A MEMORIAL to Sir Frank Crisp, one of Henley’s benefactors, is to be restored at a cost of £800.

Henley Town Council has agreed the move after the Mayor called the condition of the pillar at Fair Mile cemetery a “disgrace”.

A stonemason has advised that the memorial is cracked and the area is subsiding, meaning the pillar will gradually crumble if no action is taken.

Sir Frank, a solicitor, built Friar Park and made several major donations to the town, including a marble pulpit to St Mary’s Church and a clock tower at Christ Church, as well as paving and drainage improvements in Gravel Hill and West Street.

Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said: “We should revere his name. If you go and look at this site it is a disgrace to the town.

“I can’t believe this man’s grave has fallen into such disrepair. I would not object to £800 being spent on part of our history. It’s a small price to pay.”

Councillor David Clenshaw said: “This memorial is an important part of Henley’s history. It’s a memorial to a major contributor in our recent history.

“It is in a very prominent position in the cemetery and £800 is a very reasonable amount of money.” Councillor Ian Reissman questioned whether taxpayers’ money should be used to fund the repairs.

He said: “This is part of our heritage and in general that is something we should be careful to conserve but spending almost £1,000 of taxpayers’ money on mending what was a private memorial is something we should think carefully about.”

He suggested Sir Frank’s descendants should either pay for the repairs or contribute to the cost but Councillor Jeni Wood said no family members could be traced.

She said the council was liable for keeping the memorial safe so that it was not a danger to the public.

Sir Frank, who regularly gave to charities, was given the honorary freedom of the borough by the town council in 1917, two years before his death.

He was interred at the cemetery in 1919. The memorial pillar includes inscriptions to his wife and daughter.

* What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG9 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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