In July 2014 the Goddess Nike returned to her plinth in Horndean square.
Nike was originally dedicated on 21st July 1920 to the memory of the men who had left their homes and families to fight in the Great War and never returned. Money was raised for the memorial through public subscription with help from local businesses.
The names of men lost in subsequent conflicts have been added and now sadly it has 114 names on it.The Goddess Nike, Goddess of Victory with slight variations, was chosen as a suitable statue to grace the plinth. Our ‘Horndean Nike’ has no wings, she can be represented either way – she carries an inverted sword in her left hand as a sign of peace and her right hand is extended to the East, pointing the way to ‘The dawn of a bright new future’.
Sadly the statue lasted only forty four years. She was suffering damage due to water penetration and finally a car left the road and badly damaged the base. Nike was removed in December 1964 and nobody remembers what happened to her. Nike was replaced with a much smaller Toc H style lamp which looked sadly out of place on the substantial plinth. Over the years several attempts were made to reinstate the statue but they had all failed.
In late 2013 Horndean Parish Council took the decision to replace Nike to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. It was difficult to find a company to take on the challenge. Nobody locally wanted to do it and we ended up using a company, J Rotherham, based in Yorkshire. They only had photographs over 50 years old to work from and had to travel back and forth to check details but they did it! Using Portland Stone they faithfully reproduced an exact replica of the original statue. Once again the monies were raised through public subscription supported by local businesses and the District Council.
Early in July last year Nike arrived in Horndean and was lifted by crane onto the plinth. The re-dedication was held in the square on July 20th, exactly 93 years 364 days after the original. The service was attended by The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Lady Mary Fagan, and representatives from all the armed forces attended.
Now Historic England have listed the monument. It has been added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historic Interest following a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This will ensure that the monument will be maintained and grants may be received towards its upkeep.
This is a project that has brought me great pleasure and I am so pleased to have been a part of it.