Residents in Eccles have come together to celebrate the restoration of a historic shelter, despite it being vandalised just days prior.
The veterans’ shelter in Monton – which refers to veterans of industry – was built in the 1930s. It was believed to have been used by the Mayor of Eccles to read the proclamation of the abdication of King Edward VII in 1936.
The Monton Village Community Association (MVCA) and Salford Council applied for a £25,000 grant from the National Lottery heritage fund, which was received over summer. A new history board about the shelter was also installed.
Florence McCarthy, who applied for the funding on behalf of MVCA said, ‘It’s a landmark building, people say, “meet at the shelter” or “meet under the clock.”’ Everyone is so happy that such a building has been saved for another 90 years, hopefully.’
Monton Heritage Afternoon was arranged for Sunday 6th October, to celebrate the renovation of the shelter and Monton’s history.
But on Thursday – just three days before the heritage afternoon – the MVCA discovered that the shelter had been vandalised.
Part of the roof had been smashed, and there was graffiti etched into some of the bricks.
Liz Harris, chairwoman of the MVCA, said, ‘Some people were very cross, some people were very upset, but most of us just kept saying, “why would anybody do that?”’
However, the afternoon still went ahead and Monton residents turned up to show their support.
Liz continued, ‘There are several sides to this shelter and one of the sides has unfortunately been vandalised. Fortunately, it was small enough and localised enough that it hasn’t spoiled the rest of the afternoon.’
The heritage celebration included a visit from an old bus and a performance by Barton Theatre Company. Residents shared their memories of the shelter – from meeting friends and ‘various boyfriends,’ to first learning of the Munich air disaster. Afterwards, there was tea and cakes at the Unitarian Church, along with a talk about Monton’s past.
Michael Wheeler, Councillor for Eccles, said that the shelter has been ‘an absolute fixture’ in the village for a very long time.
‘It’s been deteriorating for quite a while even if it has stood the test of time, to see it restored to something approaching its original glory is really pleasing.’
On the vandalism, he said, ‘I think it’s really disappointing what’s happened, but the reaction from the community has been really positive and we will certainly be working to try and get the damage repaired.’
Monton resident Simon Lynch said that the refurbishment gives the shelter ‘the respect it deserves.’
‘It’s a real visual change. I drive past it going to work and it engages people. It makes you wonder, if whoever vandalised it understood more about its history, then maybe they would’ve thought differently about their actions.’
On the afternoon, Liz Harris said ‘This reminds me why we all do this. I love my village and I love the feel of it. This afternoon showed exactly that.’