CDC gifts historic ‘Bannatyne’ staircase to Limerick church museum
Release date: 23 January 2018
Cotswold District Council will fund the removal of an historic oak staircase from the Old Memorial Hospital and transfer it to a church in Limerick, Ireland.
The staircase – which is regarded as an official war memorial - was originally donated to the hospital by the Limerick-based family of Major Edgar James Bannatyne, who was a member of the Royal Flying Corps during World War 1 and died at Rendcomb airfield in the Cotswolds in 1917.
Meeting on 18 January, members of the CDC Cabinet agreed that Council’s priority fund should pay for the removal of the staircase and its transfer to the custodianship of the Limerick Civic Trust to honour the memory of the Bannatynes. The line of the family has now died out but they are fondly remembered as leading merchants who helped to bring prosperity to Limerick
Once the staircase has been restored, it will be incorporated into Saint Munchins Church in Limerick, which contains a number of graves and monuments commemorating the Bannatyne family.
Cllr Nick Parsons, the Deputy Leader of CDC, comments:
“The Council will be applying for planning permission to demolish the Old Memorial Hospital, as agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 21 April 2016, and we wanted to ensure that this magnificent staircase was preserved for posterity. Placing it in storage would have deprived the public of a magnificent war memorial and we are very pleased that it will now be on display at the Bannatyne family church in Ireland. The fact that we are marking the centenary of the end of World War I this year brings extra significance to this agreement.
“From a financial viewpoint it would have cost a substantial amount of money per year to keep the staircase in storage so the cost of transferring it to Ireland for public display represents very good value for money for taxpayers.”
David O’Brien of the Limerick Civic Trust adds:
“We are very grateful that Cotswold District Council has agreed to give us custodianship of this historic staircase. For over 30 years Limerick Civic Trust has been involved with the conservation and preservation of our heritage, so we very much appreciate the origins and story behind the Bannatyne staircase. We are delighted to be able to provide a very fitting home for the staircase in St Munchin's Church which we are currently converting into a museum, allowing us to ensure this unique war memorial is open to the public. We hope that this symbol of our shared history and close cultural traditions will in its own small way bring our island communities ever closer together.”
Mr O’Brien continues:
“it was a pleasure to work with Cotswold District Council and their representatives; their professionalism is an example for others to follow”