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Insurance firm needs new home for war memorial.

WAR memorial records of national importance could end up homeless because of a Birmingham office move.

An eight-foot high marble epitaph to the 134 employees of Zurich Insurance who died in two world wars currently stands proudly in the staff entrance of the company's office in Hagley Road, Edgbaston.

But news that the insurance giant will move to smaller city centre premises in April has thrown the memorial's future in doubt.

The new base is simply too small to accommodate the tribute.

Both Paul Robinson, who spent 40 years with the company - previously Eagle Star - and Zurich top brass are tirelessly searching for a suitable new location.

The National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas, does not have room either. Birmingham City Council and the city's Museum & Art Gallery have also said no because the Fallen listed are from all parts of the country, not just the host city.

Mr Robinson, 68, said: "Having put it back on public display only four years ago, it would be very sad to see it again placed in storage. To be fair, Zurich is working very hard. Ideally, it should be relocated in one of their other offices because it is an important part of the company history. "Whatever happens, it will not be simply scrapped."

Mr Robinson, from Solihull, has played a key role in that history. He lobbied to have the memorial placed back on public view - and unveiled the feature when it was installed in Birmingham.

It was originally unveiled at the Threadneedle Street, London, head office of the firm then known as Eagle Star and British Dominions, on November 11, 1926. In 1988, the marble and brass artwork was moved to Eagle Star's Arlington Street premises in London, but they were later sold to the Ritz Hotel.

"The memorial was dismantled and placed in storage," said Mr Robinson, "and there it remained until 2014.

"I remembered it from London because I had to go there quite often. I got thinking about what happened to the Eagle Star memorial and made some enquiries with Zurich. They were able to track down the memorial."

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 14, 2019
Words:351
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