Highland Mary Monument Project – How we arrived at Today – (Part 2)
The Highland Mary Monument has a Category B listing under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, and Greenock Burns Club is responsible for its maintenance.
In 2008 discussions took place between the Executive Committee of Greenock Burns Club, Inverclyde Council, and the Congregational Board of the Old West Kirk (now Lyle Kirk) regarding the possibility
of relocating the monument from Greenock Cemetery to a site at the Old West Kirk so that it would be more accessible to the public and visiting tourists. It quickly became clear that the ground at the church was entirely unsuitable for such a venture and anyway the costs of a further removal and re-interment were prohibitive.
In 2009 Riverside Inverclyde commissioned a non-disruptive survey of the monument by structural engineers and a report was submitted outlining various options. The project proper began in 2010 by selecting the viable options available and applying for funding from various national bodies. These proved to be unsuccessful for various reasons.
However, funding was obtained from some local bodies and work commenced in November 2011.
The initial phase consisted of making the monument safe. The top stone was made secure and the integrity of the pole at the rear of the monument, which supports and stabilises it, was re-established. Next the adjacent area was landscaped, the engraved flagstones lifted and mounted on plinths at a suitable angle, and a new path created. This part of the work could only be carried out during the summer months and as funding became available. This phase was completed in January 2012.
The next phase was cleaning the monument to take the surface back to the original sandstone. This was completed in September 2014.
The final phase was the restoration of the badly worn figures on the monument, including the rebuilding of one of Highland Mary’s legs.
Due to the nature of this work it could only be carried out during good weather so was not completed until July 2015.
The project could not have been completed without the untiring work of the Project Manager Bill McCready and Secretary Margaret Dickson to whom we are eternally grateful.