THE Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is to open a new 'behind the scenes' visitor centre that will provide an insight into their work.
From spring 2019 visitors to the battlefields of northern France will be able to gain a fascinating insight into the work of the commission as it opens its first visitor centre in Beaurains.
Visitors will be able to see the commission’s team of skilled craftsman at work when taking a tour of the workshops and observing them as they continue their century long task of caring for some of the world’s most impressive and recognisable monuments and memorials.
During their tour, visitors will be able to watch the headstone production team using modern technology to carve the iconic headstones, carefully crafting regimental badges and personal inscriptions, ensuring the names of the men who died remain legible.
The highly skilled team of blacksmiths, stonemasons, carpenters and horticulturists will offer demonstrations on the restoration and conservation of the iconic features of the commission’s sites, designed by some of the 20th Century’s most influential architects.
Victoria Wallace, CWGC’s director general, said: "We have long been able to offer tours of our workshops to VIP visitors to the battlefields of northern France. But the commission wanted this to be something everyone could see.
"As any visitor to one of our beautifully kept cemeteries will see, the artisan skills of our team are extraordinary, and the attention to detail, the scale of what we do, and the fascinating story of the recovery of men from the area for reburial today will make a real addition to any visit to the Western Front. We are hugely grateful to the British government for the funding, and to our team for embracing the idea of showing people what we do with such enthusiasm."
The CWGC Experience will open in spring 2019 at The Commonwealth War Graves, 5-7 Rue Angele Richard CS10109,62217 Beaurains. Further details will be announced closer to the launch.