Over £250k has been raised towards the erection of the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument in Gunwharf Quays to date but there is an irresistible strength of opinion to see the project completed sooner than currently envisaged. The Trustees have therefore sought and received unanimous agreement at a recent meeting to undertake a radical review. You will be pleased to hear that steps are being taken to bring the monument to completion in a much quicker timescale than was previously forecast.
Despite the sterling efforts of many supporters, sufficient money has not been forthcoming to pursue the original sculptor’s design (and costs) and, as is quite usual in such circumstances, he is unwilling to surrender the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for his creation to be implemented by someone else. The project’s legal position has been confirmed with an IPR lawyer and advice has been sought from a former president of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. The upshot is that a modified design needed to be considered.
To this end, a number of new sculptors were briefed that a mine and a diver, in keeping with the project’s original logo, were to be the essence of a new design for the sculpture. The outcome was that on Thursday 4 October 2018 four parties each presented a maquette and their proposals to a panel of our peers at Gunwharf Quays. The selection panel included members of the Minewarfare and Clearance Diving Officers Association, the Minewarfare Association, the Association of Royal Navy First Class Divers and the Ton Class Association.. The criteria included amongst other things that the design should be suitable, representative, fully viable, achievable in a reasonable timescale and be within or very close to the funds in hand whilst also allowing a contingency amount to cover any eventualities.
At that meeting it was decided that one particular sculptor should be invited to produce a fully detailed and technically tested design with a detailed programme of production. This has now been done. Once this is accepted by all concerned a contract will be signed and the monument production will get underway.
The name of the sculptor will be announced and a proposed schedule for production and, in due course, installation will be forthcoming.. In due course an artist’s impression of the new design in its intended location will be published.
It is anticipated that the likely installation date will be in the late winter or early spring of 2020.
The project team are well aware that a large number of people have supported the monument by purchasing items displaying the previous monument design from the on line shop. These sales were completed in good faith to support the project and those items are now part of the history of the Vernon Monument and should be cherished as such.