A ton of thanks from the Town Council!
What started with an individual’s desire to preserve an item of nautical and town history turned in to a rather more spectacular project. Moving an object as large as the anchor is no mean feat and it’s taken a real team effort to get it to its new, permanent home.
When local legend John Trower approached the Town Council in 2018, he was pleased to find that members of the Property Committee had an interest in maintaining Wetherby’s historical connection with the Royal Navy and together they set about moving it from its former home at The Wetherby social club. John, a member of the Old Men’s Parliament, had helped to salvage the anchor from the waters of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and bring it to Wetherby as a reminder of the connections between the town and the Royal Navy.
The Wetherby Ward Councillors were approached and helped to secure permission from Leeds City Council to locate the anchor on land near the coach drop-off point at the Cluster of Nuts car park. This site was chosen for its close proximity to the former HMS Ceres (Moorland) naval base. HMS Ceres was the Royal Navy’s largest land based ‘ship’, located on the site of Wetherby High School, and was used as a supply and secretariat base by the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1958.
The Old Men’s Parliament then paid for Wetherby Skip Services Ltd to move the anchor, putting it on a base prepared by the Council’s Town Handyman. It became clear that some TLC was required to make the anchor look good and so Rob from Aquascapes & Landscaping Ltd stepped in to start the beautification process, donating their time free of charge to install a border and gravel surround.
An anchor in the middle of a landlocked town could look a bit odd and so Councillor Victor Hawkins, also a member of Wetherby Civic Society, designed an interpretation board to help visitors and residents understand the anchor’s history and Wetherby’s connection to the Royal Navy. The board was constructed and installed by local firm Knaresborough Engineering and paid for through generous contributions from Wetherby Civic Society and Wetherby Historical Trust.
As Wetherby in Bloom started to work their magic on the garden area around the anchor, Chairman of the Civic Society, Roger Taylor, waved a brush over the anchor using paint generously supplied by New Guard Coatings, completing the transformation of this outstanding feature of the town. It now provides a fitting welcome to visitors whether arriving by coach or car.
The anchor is now on public land and in public ownership, thereby preserving it for the town in perpetuity. The Town Council would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this very special project and looks forward to being the anchor’s custodian for many years to come.