The Liverpool VC Heroes Memorial unveiled in 2011 at Abercromby Square in Liverpool commemorates Captain Noel Chavasse VC who is the only man to be twice awarded the military’s highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross, in the First World War. In 1916, as a surgeon-lieutenant, Chavasse rescued wounded men from no-man’s land under heavy fire, sometimes just 25 yards from enemy lines. He saved the lives of more than 20 men and was honoured with his first Victoria Cross. He was awarded the second posthumously after he continued to rescue and treat men during conflict at Wieltje, Belgium, though mortally wounded himself. Captain Chavasse died on 4 August 1917, at the age of 32, and is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery in Belgium.
Designed by local sculptor, Tom Murphy, the modern bronze statue depicts Captain Chavasse and a Liverpool Scottish stretcher bearer attending a wounded soldier and is referred to locally as the ‘Chavasse Statue.’
Aura Monumental were appointed to undertake the annual maintenance program of the statue’s conservation to ensure the quality and luster of the traditional ‘liver of Sulphur’ patination as initially laid out in the foundry is maintained.
The maintenance is carried out annually prior to Remembrance Day and includes the cleaning of the statue using the ThermaTech superheated water system. This is followed by waxing with microcrystalline paste wax using a propane gas torch to gently heat the bronze substrate to remove any moisture as part of the ‘hot wax’ method for the maintenance of external bronze statuary. The water temperature produced by the Thermatech was controlled close to the initial temperature at which it begins to produce steam. This facilitated the removal of old wax layers from previous maintenance treatments, which can begin to clog details and trap dirt and other contaminants close to the surface. Several new layers of microcrystalline wax were then applied.
This process is suitable for recently cast and installed sculptures or is used as the final part of a conservation program where more involved treatments or restoration has taken place on older bronze works consolidating these treatments, improving the appearance and providing a protective coating that can form apart if an ongoing maintenance program. This helps to prevent damage and oxidation, caused by environmental factors such as pollution and/or the harmful effects of pigeon guano, critical during the statues initial period of exposure to the elements.