Work begins on restoration of Menin Gate memorial
Restoration on the Menin Gate memorial in Ypres began on Monday. The much-needed work will last about two years and cost a total of 4 million euros. The traditional Last Post ceremony will continue during the renovation.
The first stage of construction includes installing scaffolding and two tunnels under the memorial, to ensure access to the city centre. The restoration work itself starts with the removal of an asbestos-containing layer on the inner vault above the street. At the same time, the waterproofing of the roof will be replaced and an eco-roof will be installed to protect the waterproofing and encourage biodiversity.
Repairs and complete repointing of the facades is planned for 2024. The natural stone elements will be restored and cleaned, and repairs to the cellars, stair towers and ceilings will be carried out.
The daily Last Post ceremony and major commemorations will continue to take place during the reonvations. From Monday, the buglers of the Last Post Association will play the Last Post on the fortifications next to the Menin Gate, with the public welcome to attend as normal.
Due to the restoration, the memorial’s name panels will not be on show. The panels will be assessed and restoration will be carried out by stonemasons if necessary. During this time, visitors can consult a virtual list of the names at the visitor centre, and from June, the history of the monument and the story of its restoration will be told in a new exhibition called Menin Gate Moments.
The Menin Gate memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. It was unveiled on 24 July 1927. Since 1928, buglers have sounded the Last Post every evening at 20.00 in a daily tribute to the fallen.
The restoration is funded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with support from the Flemish government and City of Ypres. Work is expected to be completed in 2025.
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