Hollywell restores the thimble shelters in Kensington Park

100 years ago, two war memorial shelters were built with the remaining war funds raised by a remarkable woman, Miss Hope Elizabeth Hope-Clarke and her forward thinking idea to recycle the broken thimbles of the hundreds of women sewing garments for troops on the front line.

The number of metal thimbles and metal trinkets collected during WWI numbered over 60,000 pieces and were converted into a remarkable 15 Ambulances, 5 Motor Hospital launches and 2 dental surgery cars. By the end of the war, the movement was global with over 160 collection centres worldwide and as far away as New Zealand.

When the war ended the remaining funds from the Silver Thimble Fund was used to erect north and south shelters along Kensington Gardens Broad Walk. The timber structures with inscriptions in memory of both the sailors and solders who fought in the war, were covered with covered with a hipped roof around a timber frame.

During almost a century of use, the elements and vandals took their toll on these shelters and Vinci commissioned Hollywell to reinstate these remarkable objects back their formal glory.
Hollywell completed work to the roof repairs; timber posts repairs and reinstating timber seats. Repairs involved replacing lead soakers and cedar shingles to roofs, repairing the timber posts, seat supports and rails, reinstating the timber seats and decorate all timber and undertake minor concrete repairs.

The finished seats are now a fitting reminder to both those that fought in the great war and also the work of Miss Hope Elizabeth Hope-Clarke who’s principles of recycling helped so many.

The benches can be seen in The Broad Walk, East of Kensington Palace, Kensington Garden, London

To find out more information about the works that Hollywell undertakes for the Royal Parks please click here

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