Obscenity scrawled on Dunmow’s memorial bench as vandals strike again

The device which plays recordings on the listening bench appears to no longer be working. Picture: A

The device which plays recordings on the listening bench appears to no longer be working. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A listening bench where members of the public can learn about Dunmow’s history has been vandalised.

People visiting the bench could listen to names of local soldiers who died in the First World War, as part of recording made to mark the centenary of the war’s end last November.

More recently, locals could hear about life in Dunmow during the first and second world wars. The recording was made to mark 100 years since the Royal British Legion formed.

However, it appears the device which plays the recordings has been damaged and no longer works. A four-letter obscenity was also scrawled on the listening panel.

This bench was put together by the Dunmow Historical and Literary Society, which worked with the Essex Record Office, as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, You Are Hear: sound and a sense of place.

The bench was installed in 2016.

Sue Gould, who was involved in the project to install the bench and still assembles and co-ordinates new recordings said she was “upset” to hear the news.

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Sue, who is a Dunmow resident, said: “A lot of people work to create the recordings... the recording on there now is only 15 minutes and it takes hours to do that.”

This is not the first time the bench is believed to have been vandalised. In December 2016 it was reported that someone tried to push the wooden bench forward, which broke a strut in one of the legs.

The most recent recordings included extracts from books about Dunmow including the Dunmow Centenary Book 1894-1994, compiled by the Dunmow Historical and Literary Society.

The damage was reported to Essex Police on April 15. Dunmow Town Council confirmed to the Broadcast that the obscenity had been removed by sanding last week and that it would be meeting with the Historial and Literary Society to discuss the status of the recording.