The immediate surroundings of the original shrine have been changed. On 21.7.1970 Fr Pieler phoned to say that the area in front of and beside the original shrine would be dug up and the arrangements at the graves would be changed. A notice on the shrine door announced: “Closed on account of building works”. They should last about two weeks.
On 22.7.1970 a first section of wall was demolished, beginning at the hole beside the heroes’ graves up to the shrine. On 23.7.1970 the rest of the wall up to the Old House was demolished. The shrine is not completely free-standing next to the street, an unusual picture. The pine tree next to the right sanctuary window was felled on 23.7.1970. the following day the a small front-end loader began removing the earth in front of the entrance, and on the side of the shrine next to the Pilgrms’ Place the earth was excavated to a depth of about half a meter. They obviously want to create a solid foundation, because flagstones are to be laid on top. Behind the heroes’ graves the foundations for a new wall are being dug and cast. This concrete foundation joins onto the wall of the shrine, which gives rise to the impression that the street is going to be widened by a meter and pass directly next to the shrine.
In the last weeks a new wall has been built near the original shrine. It reaches from the left recess of the original shrine to the right end of the heroes’ graves. There the wall continues on the flank of the layout of the graves. This is completely new. From it we can conclude that either the rest of the wall will be removed, or that the provisional access to the Pilgrims’ Place next to the graves is to be made permanent. Another new and unusual feature is that natural stone is no longer being used for the wall. They have used standard concrete hollow bricks. They have an uneven surface.
The forecourt of the shrine is being bricked. The slope leading to the shrine has been removed, so that the shrine will not be flooded in future when it rains heavily.
The area around the original shrine is gradually taking shape. Not only the area in front of the shrine is being brick paved, so is the area to the side. It stretches beyond the heroes’ graves. Before the shrine entrance they have created a enclosure with a wall that can be used for seating. It will be screened from the outside by a spruce hedge. Holy Mass has been celebrated in the original shrine since 8.8.1970.
The changes around the original shrine are nearing completion. The immediate vicinity has been cleaned up. To the side of the heroes’ graves red brick steps lead from the street to the Pilgrims’ Place.
On 23.9.1970 workers from a gardening firm have begun to work on the Pilgrims’ Place with a tractor and lorries. They have brought topsoil from the site near the Old Tower, and leveled it. It looks much better than before. It is autumn so high time to sow the grass if it is to be green and able to withstand the winter. Brother Sacristan personally planted little trees outside the low wall surrounding the shrine entrance.