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Tuesday Jul 09, 2013

Adderley Street cenotaph begins move to new home

Work is under way on the massive task of moving the Cenotaph 300m to its new location on the Heerengracht, so that it will be ready for Armistice Day on November 11.

It is being moved to make way for a MyCiTi bus station.

The Cenotaph War Memorial on Adderley Street is to be moved 300m to make way for a MyCiTi bus terminal.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport, said discussions about relocating the Cenotaph - erected in Adderley Street in 1924 to honour soldiers who died in World War I, World War II and the Korean War - were 'very emotional'.

Military associations and veterans, historians and the public commented on the proposed relocation of this memorial. It is one of two memorials in the city where annual ceremonies are held.

But this would not be the Cenotaph's first move, said Herron. In 1954, it was shifted 8m from its original position and orientation to its current location. This was to allow vehicle access to the Heerengracht.

When the Cenotaph is moved this time, it will make way for a bus station that will service about 100 buses an hour moving along several MyCiTi routes.

Three sites were suggested as the Cenotaph's new home: the Grand Parade, the Company's Garden and the Heerengracht median on Hertzog Boulevard. The initial heritage assessments favour the Grand Parade as a suitable new home for the Cenotaph because of its proximity to the castle. Nine possible sites were suggested, as the city council was adamant that the structure should not be placed in the centre of this important public space.

However, it was shown that this site was not considered safe for tourists or visitors, and that it would place the Cenotaph at greater risk of vandalism. Even in its current location on Adderley Street, the Cenotaph has been defaced, with the finials on its balustrade being stripped last year.

The Grand Parade also did not offer the same authenticity as the Heerengracht. Only in 'exceptional circumstances should additional monuments or structures' be placed on the Grand Parade, noted the heritage team.

Historically, the Cenotaph has always been on the Adderley Street axis, as the city's main road. The new location, which has ample pedestrian access, would not see any street closures on memorial days.

Herron said the new position between the Fountain Circle and Heritage Street would allow for the reorientation of the winged Victory to once again face Table Mountain.

He could not confirm the cost of the Cenotaph's move, as the project fell within the overall contract for the construction of the bus station.

Cape Argus

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