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Restoration of historic pillars

The pillars at the entrance of Place Road, which were erected when the road was built in 1864, have been undergoing restoration work.

The shorter pillars, next to the pavements, date from the 18th century and were originally the gate posts to the now demolished Place House. The larger pillars, next to the road, were made a hundred years later.

Many Melksham residents will remember seeing these pillars topped with round stone balls (technically called ‘finials’). But first one fell and was broken and then a few years ago the other was dislodged. Fortunately it did not break and was carefully stored in an adjacent garden.

Now, a replica stone ball has been made by stone mason Jim Wheel and both finials have been securely fixed onto the top of the pillars, along with other necessary repairs.

After consulting the town council, a resident of Place Road decided she would arrange for the restoration of the pillars as a memorial to her late husband, Dave Dowling, and as a “thank you” to the town. Dave suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. When he was still able to walk into the High Street the staff in the local shops were very kind and helped him with his money and carefully packed his favourite cakes.

When Judith read that the town was looking at ways of making Melksham a dementia-friendly town, she knew that there would be a positive response. She hopes that everyone will enjoy seeing the pillars restored to their original grandeur and that they will act as a reminder to us all to be dementia aware.