Clitheroe Pinnacle preserved for us all

The Clitheroe Pinnacle

Re the Clitheroe Pinnacle Project: On the evening of 27th October, the final event of a three-year project to save the Castle Gardens Pinnacle – which came from the Palace of Westminster in 1937 –took place at the Atrium Café, in the shadow of Castle Keep.

This was an event to celebrate the successful outcome of Clitheroe Civic Society’s first venture into active conservation. It has ensured that this historic monument, which came from the ‘New Palace of Westminster’ to commemorate the coronation of King George VI, is retained for future residents of the Borough and the many visitors to the castle gardens. It was donated to the former Borough of Clitheroe by the town’s then MP, Sir William ‘Billy’ Brass. However, by the end of 2013 it was in a condition of advancing dilapidation. This would inevitably have led to it being dismantled and therefore lost.

The Atrium event was to thank all those ‘Project Partners’ who assisted our small society to achieve this aim. Some gave time, some advice, some finance. Others recognised the educational value of the project and took advantage of the opportunity to use it as a vehicle for their own studies. Notable among this group were Pendle Junior School and the University of Central Lancashire. There isn’t the space here to name all these partners. All know who they are and all are recognised, and thanked, in the pages of the book which the Civic Society has also published to record all aspects of the project. The book was ‘launched’ at the Atrium event and copies given to all project partners. With sufficient interest, it is also hoped to make this available to purchase before the end of the year.

Without the assistance of these partners the successful outcome to the project would not have been possible. Their support and participation has resulted in the retention of this unique monument which links our ancient market town to the ‘Mother of Parliaments’. Better information as to why, and how, this monument came to Clitheroe almost 80 years ago has also been provided in the form of a purpose designed interpretation panel sited opposite the Pinnacle in the former Rose Garden. As the roses went from the garden over ten years ago now the area has been renamed the Pinnacle Garden with the support of both Ribble Valley Borough Council and Clitheroe Town Council.

That our local authority was unable to meet the cost of repairing one of the town’s most significant monuments is a reflection on current political conditions which were, and remain, largely out of their control.

Individual Civic Societies cannot afford to indulge in either local or national political debate and, to be effective, must simply focus on events to hand and how best to respond to these. In this instance, there was no doubt that, without the Society’s intervention, the Pinnacle – and all it represents to our Borough – would have been lost forever. However, through cooperative community action and the financial assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Duchy of Lancaster along with many other organisations and individuals, this was prevented.

For those who have not viewed the Pinnacle for some time, and equally those who may never have done so yet, you are encouraged to do so now. Stroll up through the Castle Gardens following the new signage to the Pinnacle Garden. Make the connection between Clitheroe and the Palace of Westminster and – from the new interpretation panel – learn more about the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of this unique monument and those who brought it here in the first place and, more recently, those who played a part in retaining it for your future contemplation and enjoyment.

Steve Burke

Pinnacle Project Team

Clitheroe Civic Society

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