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Revamp hopes for Titanic memorial

18 August 09 20:11 GMT

Plans to revamp a memorial to Jack Phillips, chief telegraphist on The Titanic, will go before a public meeting in Godalming on Thursday.

The organisers want to refurbish the memorial, built in 1914, in time for the 2012 centenary of the sinking of the ship on its maiden voyage.

The Grade II-listed Phillips Memorial Cloister is the largest of any built to remember a single Titanic victim.

Jack Phillips was born locally and died aged 25 when the liner sank.

It was Phillips who sent out the final SOS before the ship went down after hitting an iceberg, with the loss of 1,523 passengers and crew.

He stayed at his post until the final minutes and was considered a hero for his efforts in contacting other ships to come to Titanic's assistance.

Waverley Borough Council has arranged the meeting with a view to establishing a friends group for the memorial garden and surrounding Burys Field area.

The public meeting to outline and discuss the project will take place at Waverley Borough Council's offices at The Burys in Godalming.

Rob Anderton, Waverley's parks and landscape manager, said: "The Phillips Memorial Cloister is the largest of any memorial to commemorate one Titanic victim and was built largely from funds donated by the public shortly after the disaster.

"Recently letters have been received from a few organisations expressing concern about the condition of the memorial and the planting within it.

"A number of suggestions were also made on how improvements could be made."

The memorial, which was designed by key players in the arts and crafts movement, Gertrude Jekyll and Hugh Thackeray Turner, has undergone a number of alterations during the years.

The most significant change was in 1965 when the southern cloister was replaced with an open timber pergola structure.

In 1991 the cloister was granted Grade II listed building status.

Two years later there was another phase of restoration, initiated and part funded by the Surrey Gardens Trust to mark the 150th anniversary of Gertrude Jekyll's birth.

It is hoped that financial support and strong backing from an active friends group could see improvements being made across the park as a whole, which spans around 11 acres (4.4 hectares).

Mr Anderton added: "Wider improvements as part of the project could include the children's playground, the refurbishment, and in some places replacement, of paths throughout the site, along with better planting schemes and signs.

"However, the whole project is at an early stage and we really need community involvement before it can really get under way."

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