The former Irish Brigade Memorial in Brixton

The Irish Brigades Monument is now situated in Orania and this page is about the site where it used to be.  

This memorial shows up on old street finders as being between the Brixton Tower and the AW Muller Stadium. However, when I got there I found something that left me puzzled.

The remains in 2011

The remains in 2011

I tried finding any information on the memorial and all I could find was an article that said it was the site of a monument to Irish volunteers who fought for the Boers during the South African War and that it had been sold in the mid 90’s.  I will be honest, I knew nothing about what this memorial looked like, or whether it was even the right one, but this is one memorial that is now extinct, albeit at its original site.

At the end of 2007 I found a picture which shows the monument in the distance next to the Brixton Tower.

I have since heard that the there was some controversy regarding this memorial which apparently was erected in the 1970’s, and that it was dismantled and the components were removed to Orania in June 2002.  It now stands on Monument Hill on the edge of the town, (Google Earth: -29.811852°.  24.419704°). Images available on the Mail and Guardian website from 14 November 2014 

At first  the site reminded me of a gun emplacement, but I also considered that it could have been the site of a searchlight mounting for the Brixton Tower. There used to be a plaque there, but its gone, and any artefacts that could be identified are also gone. The only thing I found was litter, uncut grass and a rubble.

irishbrigades04

In October 2011, I was contacted by an architect; William Martinson Barch, who sent me a link to what this monument looked like at ground level.  The architect was Johan (Jan) Carel Van Wijk, (also designed the Language Monument in Paarl) and it was dated 1975.

“…..The design for the Irish Monument, which consists of 4 pillars, symbolize the 4 Irish commandos in an ascending line to form the ultimate goal of freedom. It was unveiled in 1975 by Mrs Betsie Verwoerd. ” (http://www.oraniainfo.co.za/accommodation.html)

There is an interesting history of the Irish Volunteers as well as the memorial available at “The South African History Source. Written by Experts“.

I revisited the site in Brixton in December 2011 to see if there had been any progress, but if anything it was looking worse that it had before. The “Freedom Memorial” that was supposedly at the site of the AW Muller Stadium has also been removed.

So while the memorial doesn’t exist in Brixton it does exist in Orania and moving it back to its original sight would achieve no purpose at all.  

There is also a short video on youtube about the monument

© DRW 2007-2018. Updated 29/10/2011, Special thanks to William Martinson and Diederik-Johannes Cloete for information and links. New image added 02/12/2011. Moved to blog 07/02/2014. Updated 27/12/2016 and new page created 28/12/2016

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