Angus Council is funding a £72,500 restoration programme of the Peel Monument at Newmonthill Cemetery in Forfar.
Work on the prominent B-listed building began in mid-April and is running ahead of its completion date of late July.
Over the years the structure, which is exposed to the elements, has settled slightly on one corner, creating an additional stress on the upper levels.
The original cast iron cramps have rusted and burst or displaced the surrounding stonework, and joints have opened up due to weathering and vegetable growth.
Flaking stone has been brushed off and open or loose joints raked out, cleaned and pointed with lime mortar. Loose stonework has been removed, drilled and fitted with stainless steel dowels for bonding back securely to the underlying structure.
Cracked stone has been replaced with new material. The surface colour difference of the new stone is quite marked, but the new stone shows the colour as it would have been when the monument was newly erected. Cast iron ties have been replaced with stainless steel items and the lightning conductor is being tested.
The monument was erected in tribute to a repeal by Sir Robert Peel of the Corn Law in 1846, primarily to aid the crisis of the potato famine in Ireland. The Corn Law protected British agriculture from importation of cheap grain. Peel fought against his own party and land-owners to push the repeal through as a humanitarian act to supply food to the stricken areas. The monument’s original bust of Sir Robert Peel was removed decades ago due to vandalism. Angusalive museums’ curators are currently determining what can be done with it.