When the new Birkenhead Library was built in 2010, the surrounding park was landscaped and the memorial was expertly restored, creating a revitalised space. Some of this work is described in a Salmond Reed Architects Limited report. Although drinking from the fountain is no longer an option, the globe light has been replaced and it glows through the park trees, highlighted at night, that surround it.
|Ref: B0319, Nell Fisher Reserve Memorial, North Auckland Auckland Research Centre|
'“Greater Love Hath No Man Than This” In memory of all those who served in the great war
To the glory Of God and in honour of those who fought and in memory of those who fighting fell.
To the imperishable memory of the men who gave their lives in the Great war
Their name liveth forevermore
“The Great War”
Erected by the Citizens of Birkenhead'.
The bronzed olive leaf branches that crown the memorial are emblems of peace, and they hold four victor’s wreaths. These branches in turn support what has been described in the June 1987 N.Z. Architectural & Building Review as an ‘opal globe enclosing an electric light with burns every evening from sunset to midnight’. This light was considered a part of the Borough Council’s electric lighting scheme for the illumination of the nearby streets.
The designer of the memorial was Frank Finch, a man of many talents who had been a Birkenhead Borough Councilor from 1912-1914 and who took over the role of Birkenhead Town Clerk and Engineer in the late 1920s. A civil engineer by training, he also designed the gardens around the memorial at Highbury, the layout of the park adjacent to the Birkenhead Wharf, and he also produced a scheme for a crossing for the Upper Waitemata Harbour.
|Ref: B0717, Frank Rinch, North Auckland Research Centre|
This blog post has been put together from the following sources, which will be of use to anyone wishing to find out more:
- 'Back Then: Oral history interviews from the Birkenhead Public Library Collection', compiled and edited by Colleen Christie, Birkenhead City Council, c.1988
- Birkenhead Library, 1991
- 'The Story of Birkenhead, Birkenhead City Council', by McClure, Margaret, Shoal Bay Press, 1987
- 'North Shore Heritage: Thematic review report: 1 July 2011' compiled by Heritage Consulting
- 'Services for Auckland Council' by Auckland Council, 2011
- 'N.Z. Architectural & Building Review', 30 June 1927
- Papers Past website
- NZ history.net website