English Heritage
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18 war memorials remembered on Armistice Day

On the expert advice of English Heritage, 17 war memorials have been listed by Ben Bradshaw MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to coincide with Armistice Day (Wednesday, 11 November, 2009), English Heritage announced today (Tuesday, 10 November, 2009). English Heritage is also publishing guidance on how to protect War Memorials from theft and is recruiting, for the first time, a heritage crime officer to advise on counteracting architectural theft generally.

Roger Bowdler, Head of Designation at English Heritage, said: “War Memorials are a focal point of many of our towns, cities and villages. Some 70,000 war memorials throughout England honour the memory of more than one million British soldiers who died in the First and Second World Wars. They are poignant witnesses to the tragic impact of world events on our towns and villages; many possess high visual interest as well as clear historical resonance.

“Over the past few months, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of applications that we have received from local parish councils and communities asking for their local war memorial to be listed. We are very pleased that we have been able to work with the DCMS to ensure these are listed in time for this year’s commemorations. Listing can make a real difference in securing grant aid, and in applying to our very successful support programme, run jointly with the Wolfson Foundation and the War Memorials Trust.”

The listed memorials vary in shape and size, are located throughout England and range from the unusual to the traditional. In the past week, the Parish Councils in Hartington in the Derbyshire Dales and Rode near Frome in Somerset have been notified that their applications have been successful.

The very unusual war memorial in Hartington is believed to have been erected in 1924, and consists of five large limestone boulders, designed to reflect the nature of the surrounding limestone landscape and the stone working traditions of the locality.

Chairman of the Parish Council, Frank Kirkham, said: “The war memorial in Hartington is important to our village and particularly to the older residents. I have travelled around Australia and Canada and was impressed with how well maintained their memorials were. We were surprised to find that our memorial – made from local stone – was not listed and we are delighted that it now is. If work ever needs to be done, we can now apply for a grant and I hope that it will remain an important part of our village for generations to come. ”

The more traditional Rode memorial is on the village green and decorated in a traditional style with a Latin cross head and an octagonal shaft, set on a square plinth. Built of Portland stone, it was designed by Edwin Wooley, a local architect and the £220 it cost to create was raised by public subscription. It was erected in 1920 to commemorate those men who died during the Great War and a separate inscription stone was added for men who died in the Second World War.

Parish Councillor, Keith Sharman commented: “We are delighted that Rode’s War Memorial, which is such an important part of our village, has been listed. Rode has a population of fewer than 1,000 people and many have relatives or ancestors who were affected by WW1 and WW2. As the inscription on the memorial says These men of ours unselfish, unafraid went to the world wide fight / forget not how they fought and we prayed for England and for right. and this continues to be as important today.”

The additional 14 war memorials that have been listed include those at Freshford near Bradford-on-Avon; St Cuthbert’s Lychgate War Memorial in Allendale near Hexham in Northumberland; the Boer War Memorial in Hastings; the Stanwell War Memorial in Staines, Middlesex; The Binstead and Havenstreet War Shrine in Ryde, Isle of Wight; Sheerness War Memorial, Bridge Road, Sheerness; plus ones on Severalls Park Avenue, Crewkerne; Boundy's Cross, East Worlington, North Devon; Church Lane, Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire; Horsham Road, Holmwood, Surrey; Market Place, Bildeston, Suffolk; St John's Road, Heaton Mersey and the Memorial Gardens, London Road – both in Stockport and Main Street, Berwick Upon Tweed.

In addition, the Centotaph in Watts Park, Southampton – which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was adopted across the nation for its war memorials including the Whitehall Cenotaph in London - has been upgraded to II*.

WAR MEMORIAL THEFT: Prevention and solutions
English Heritage and War Memorials Trust are publishing guidance for Armistice Day on the threat to war memorials from theft, either for the scrap value of bronze and other metals used in the memorials’ construction or for the black market value of the sculpture and other features of artistic or collectable interest. English Heritage is also recruiting a heritage crime officer to advise on counteracting architectural theft. The guide will be available on English Heritage’s website (www. English-heritage.org.uk) later this month and hard copies can be obtained from English Heritage on 0870 333 1181 and War Memorials Trust on 0300 123 0764.

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