A famous stained-glass mosaic of war-time leader Winston Churchill could be returned to a Black Country town after more than 20 years if a new campaign is successful.
The large memorial was unveiled at Dudley’s Churchill Precinct in 1969 and became a familiar sight to residents and traders.
It was taken down after a series of vandal attacks left parts of the mosaic in pieces and the remaining panels were placed in storage.
Dudley North MP Ian Austin today launched a campaign to get the mosaic restored and will work with experts, council officers and residents to make the plan a reality.
Mr Austin said it would a fitting way to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Mr Churchill’s death in 2015.
If the restoration takes place, he hopes the piece would be returned to its original home in the Churchill Precinct and plans to hold talks with the centre’s owners in the future.
But if an agreement could not be reached, the mosaic could be displayed in one of the town’s museums or even in one of the new developments planned for the town.
Mr Austin said the mosaic had been taken down in 1991.
The 17 stained-glass panels, which illustrated moments from the former Prime Minister’s life, were designed by world-renowned artist Edward Bainbridge Copnall.
At the time, the precinct was not enclosed and the panels were damaged by weather before the vandal attacks also took their toll.
The remaining panels of the mosaic were taken to Himley Hall after they were removed from the precinct and have been gathering dust in storage ever since.
At the time, it was found the adhesive used to hold the window together was not compatible with the materials in the mosaic.
Mr Austin said new techniques developed since the 1960s should mean the problems which dogged the mural first time around could now be overcome.
And he hopes the memorial could be used to teach a new generation of youngsters in the borough about Winston Churchill’s contribution to securing Britain’s Liberty and the world’s freedom.
“No-one who grew up in Dudley could forget the magnificent memorial to Winston Churchill,” he said.
“I cannot remember the number of times I stood under the panels but will never forget the impact they had on me.
“The memorial made me understand how Churchill inspired the British people not just to fight for Britain’s liberty but for the world’s freedom too.
“It is this era, described by Churchill himself as our country’s finest hour, which defines Britain today.”
Trader Alan Caswell, who runs the Arcade Toyshop in the town, said he remembered the mosaic well and supported its restoration. “It would be great if it could be brought back to the Churchill Precinct,” he said.
“The centre is very different now as it is enclosed and the piece would be far better protected than it was in the past,” he said.
“This was an excellent memorial to Winston Churchill and the 50th anniversary of his death seems to be an ideal occasion for the mosaic to be restored.”
Mr Caswell said the mosaic had been an iconic part of the town centre for a number of years and it had been a sad day when it was taken down.
“Hopefully even if a place cannot be found for it in the precinct another spot could be located for it to be on display in the town,” he said. “It could become a focal point once again.”
Calls to restore the memorial have been made in the past but no work has ever taken place.