March Town Hall’s Britannia left to rule without her shield

FOR 110 years she has looked out over the Fens from the top of March Town Hall, but a sudden gust of wind sent Britannia’s shield and arm crashing to the ground.

To make matters worse, before anyone could rescue the parts which fell onto the Market Place from the copper statue last Thursday night, a motorist drove over the arm.

Town council Clerk Clive Lemmon is now consulting experts to find out how Britannia can be restored to her former glory.

Mr Lemmon said: “I got a call on Friday morning to say that it had come off and staff at The Square had taken it in for safe storage. Unfortunately by that time someone had already driven over the arm. There is a proper shoulder shape on the statue and now a big hole has been left where the arm is missing.”

The town hall was built as a corn exchange in 1900 to replace the earlier market house and fire station. The tower on which Britannia stands is 110ft high and the clock was paid for by public subscription to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. In 1912 it became the town hall.

Britannia’s shield has fallen to the ground once before in early 1994. Cambs Times photographer Brian Purdy remembers accompanying contractors up the tower to replace the shield but he was unable to capture any great views as the work was carried out on a very foggy Sunday morning.