When Grace Darling died in 1842 at the age of 26, she was one of the most admired and well publicised of Victorian heroines, after helping her father to rescue 9 passengers from the wreck of the paddle steamer Forfarshire, on 7 September 1838. The memorial, designed by the well known architect, Anthony Salvin, stands in the churchyard of St Aidan’s, Bamburgh. In 1893 the canopy was rebuilt after it collapsed in a gale.
Just over a century later, our conditon report found that the iron posts supporting the stone canopy had almost rusted away and it was again on the point of collapse. Our historic research established Salvin as the original designer, raising its heritage value and making it eligible for grant funding, and the subsequent conservation project included taking down and completely rebuilding the memorial with new bronze and stainless steel reinforcements. As part of the project a time capsule of local memorabilia was sealed in the base, and the project also included laser and micro-abrasive cleaning of the stonework and specialist conservation of the sculpture, iron railings and bronze cresting. The project has ensured that visitors can continue to enjoy the monument as a symbol of female heroism and the saving of life at sea, hopefully for at least another century!