WORKINGTON’S Peat Memorial Obelisk, regarded as one of the finest public monuments in Cumbria, has now been officially listed by the government following a campaign by Workington and District Civic Trust.

A celebratory photo-call outside the granite monument in Portland Square, marked the event this week - but unfortunately the trust member who spearheaded the campaign project, Pat Evans, could not be present.

The listing means that the monument, which was officially unveiled in 1881 in memory of much-loved Workington family doctor and surgeon Anthony Peat, cannot be altered, moved or demolished without government dispensation.

Nobody is yet clear who owns the monument and who has responsibility for its cleaning and maintenance - questions the trust now hopes to answer. And it would also like to know if anyone has photographs of the original railings on the wall round the monument.

The current railings are probably 1950s replacements. If the trust can find a photograph or a pattern for the originals, it thinks it may be able to find funding to get a new set made.

Anyone with useful information is asked to contact trust member Sheila Richardson on 01946-830134, who would also like to know if anyone has knowledge of any relatives of Anthony Peat, who never married.

Pat Martin of the trust said: “Getting the monument listed is recognition that this is a structure of national importance. And getting that recognition is part of our aspiration to restore civic pride in Workington.”

Colleague Helen Ivison thinks the Peat Memorial Obelisk may be the only monument of its type in Cumbria, erected in memory of a private citizen.

The monument, made of polished grey Dalbeattie granite, cost £279 - a fortune in its day. Dr Anthony Peat was a high Tory with socialist leanings who was locally born and is buried in Camerton churchyard.

He gained the status of hero for the work he did among the working class - and in particular for the way he stuck at his post and worked long hours to treat those who suffered and died in two cholera outbreaks in the town.

After the outbreak of 1847, he brought a government inspector to the town to show him the primitive methods of collecting fresh water and emptying sewage in to the same water course - a move which eventually led to massive improvements.

His death was said to be from overwork. The subscription on the obelisk reads: “Erected by public subscription in memory of Anthony Peat , surgeon, who, during a life spent in incessant toil for the relief of human suffering, won the love and esteem of all classes.