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Plaque to fallen WWI soldiers of Canonbury school found at car boot sale

PUBLISHED: 15:44 11 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:44 11 September 2014

Westley Davis, right, and Brian Southwood found a WWI plaque in a car boot sale.

Westley Davis, right, and Brian Southwood found a WWI plaque in a car boot sale.

Archant

Mechanic bought memorial to put it back where it belongs

Two staff members and 28 former scholars who died during the war are remembered on the plaqueTwo staff members and 28 former scholars who died during the war are remembered on the plaque

A lost memorial to fallen soldiers from a Canonbury school has been recovered at a car boot sale.

Westley Davis, 36, came across the plaque, which honours 30 staff and former pupils from St Paul’s School who lost their lives fighting in the First World War, while searching out bargains with friends at the sale in Enfield.

Having grown up in the area, Mr Davis wanted to put it back where it belonged as a sign of respect, and so he and his friends pooled together the £30 needed to buy the stone tribute.

It is thought the tablet, which was given by the staff and children at the school during the war, may have been lost when the building was demolished.

Mr Davis, who lives off St Paul’s Road, said: “I live in Canonbury so when I saw it on the plaque it caught my eye.

“I grew up in the area and we didn’t want it getting lost or thrown out – it’s important that their sacrifice is remembered.

Grateful

“We want it to go back in its original place, somewhere it will be safe. I think the building must have been pulled down, because I couldn’t find any St Paul’s School in the area that goes back that far.”

Historians at Islington Museum are currently looking into where the memorial might have come from in the hope of finding the appropriate home for it.

The discovery coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Great War, which Islington Council is marking by placing plaques commemorating almost 10,000 fallen soldiers from the borough in the streets where they live.

The plaque bears the inscription: “In grateful remembrance of the members of the staff and the former scholars of St Paul’s School Canonbury who fell in the Great War”.

Mr Davis, who works as a mechanic in Barnsbury, said: “My grandad fought in the war so I’ve always had great respect for all the soldiers that fought and especially those who died.

“It’s a really important part of our history and I’ve always been interested in the history of London.

“To be honest I’m not that surprised that it was at a car boot, people will sell anything.”

Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said: “We are very grateful to Mr Davis for finding the plaque and donating it back to Islington. It is fitting that the plaque has been found in the year that we commemorate the outbreak of the First World War.

“It has never been more important to remember the sacrifice made by so many from our borough.”


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