COMMENT: Navy must not allow Nelson to crumble
He sums up the true meaning of the word ‘hero’ and yet a monument to the great Admiral Lord Nelson which sits atop Portsdown Hill is falling apart.
As Nelson’s nose crumbles – which is so undignified for a man of his standing – it is not clear who is responsible for repairs to the enormous column which watches over The Solent which meant so much to the Royal Navy’s greatest sailor.
The memorial was commissioned to honour Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805.
The famed naval leader made the ultimate sacrifice during the battle after being shot by a sniper. He died on the deck of his flagship HMS Victory, and the statue faces that directions from the hill.
It was one of the most significant moments in naval history.
And yet it is the Royal Navy itself which seems to have left the statue to rot.
The last time major work was carried out to the monument, which stands at 120ft, was in 2005 as part of the 200th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Trafalgar.
It is not clear who owns the land, it was once part of HMS Dryad but is now believed to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).
Thank goodness organisations like the Nelson Society exist to ensure such important monuments are not overlooked.
The campaign to restore Nelson’s monument is important and let us hope it is well supported because the bust, in particular, is a precious piece of naval history which seems to have been forgotten by the Royal Navy itself.
If the campaign is not a success, and the navy does not step up and take responsibility, this will become another great statue of a national hero that will be lost forever because of wrangling over who should pay for its upkeep.