|North Eastern Railway War Memorial|
|For employees of the North Eastern Railway killed in the First World War|
|Location|| Coordinates: |
Station Approach, York, England
|Designed by||Sir Edwin Lutyens|
|Official name||North Eastern Railway Company War Memorial|
|Designated||10 September 1970|
The North Eastern Railway War Memorial is a First World War memorial in York in northern England. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens to commemorate employees of the North Eastern Railway (NER) who left to fight in the First World War and were killed while serving. The NER board voted in early 1920 to allocate £20,000 for a memorial and commissioned Lutyens. The committee for the York City War Memorial followed suit and also appointed Lutyens, but both schemes became embroiled in controversy. Concerns were raised from within the community about the effect of the NER memorial on the city walls and its impact on the proposed scheme for the city's war memorial, given that the two memorials were planned to be 100 yards (90 metres) apart and the city's budget was a tenth of the NER's. The controversy was resolved after Lutyens modified his plans for the NER memorial to move it away from the walls and the city opted for a revised scheme on land just outside the walls; coincidentally the land was owned by the NER, whose board donated it to the city.
The NER memorial was unveiled on 14 June 1924 by Field Marshal Lord Plumer. It consists of a 54-foot (16-metre) high obelisk which rises from the rear portion of a three-sided screen wall. The wall forms a recess in which stands Lutyens' characteristic Stone of Remembrance. The wall itself is decorated with several carved swags and wreaths, including a wreath surrounding the NER's coat of arms at the base of the obelisk. The memorial is a grade II* listed building, and is part of a "national collection" of Lutyens' war memorials.
The North Eastern Railway (NER), one of the largest employers in the north of England, released over 18,000 of its employees to serve in the armed forces during the First World War, many of them joining the 17th (North Eastern Railway) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. By the end of the war, 2,236 men from the company had died on military service overseas; others were killed at home by bombardments of east coast ports, such as the raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby, and in the three Zeppelin raids on York.
After the war, thousands of memorials were built across Britain. Among the most prominent designers of memorials was architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, described by Historic England as "the leading English architect of his generation". Lutyens designed The Cenotaph in London, which became the focus for the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations, as well as the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing—the largest British war memorial anywhere in the world—and the Stone of Remembrance which appears in all large Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries and in several of Lutyens' war memorials in Britain, including the North Eastern Railway's.
The war memorial is one of several buildings and structures in the centre of York related to the NER, including the company's headquarters and the city's original railway station. The site—chosen as being immediately adjacent to the company's head office—was originally a coal depot and carriage sidings.
At a meeting in April 1919, the NER's board discussed the idea of a war memorial, and decided that it should be of "an ornamental, rather than of a utilitarian character".The board initially planned to seek donations for the project from it workforce, but changed its mind after the general manager reported that the idea met with widespread disapproval among employees. It then formed a subcommittee to consider possible designs and propose a suitable budget. At the company's annual general meeting in February 1920, a resolution was passed allocating a budget of £20,000 for the designing and building of a memorial. The board commissioned Lutyens, which was confirmed in October 1921, for a fee of £700 plus travel and out-of-pocket expenses. The NER's deputy general manager explained that Lutyens had been chosen because he was "the fashionable architect and therefore could do no wrong".
The project became embroiled in a controversy surrounding its size and location, which grew to envelop the proposed York City War Memorial. Following the railway company's lead, the City War Memorial Committee also appointed Lutyens, and endorsed his plan for a Stone of Remembrance elevated on a large plinth in the moat by Lendal Bridge, 100 yards (90 metres) from the proposed site of the NER's memorial. The controversy revolved partly around the relationship between the two memorials—Lutyens felt that the two designs would complement one another, but the city had given Lutyens a budget of £2,000, a tenth of that allocated to him by the NER, and some members of the local community were concerned that the railway company's memorial would be much larger and would overshadow the city's. Another concern, raised by a city councillor, was that visitors walking into the city centre from the railway station would see the NER's memorial first. Lutyens responded that he felt the two memorials would show a common purpose, and thus that their proximity was not an issue.
The issue was further complicated by the proximity of both proposed schemes to York's ancient city walls; both schemes required the consent of the Ancient Monuments Board (later English Heritage and now Historic England), particularly as Lutyens' design for the NER involved the memorial abutting the city walls and would have required excavation of part of the ramparts, to which the Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society (YAYAS) strenuously objected. The NER's in-house architect suggested moving the memorial ten feet (three metres) to the east, away from the wall; Lutyens, in India at the time, dismissed the idea in a cable. In February 1922, the secretary of the YAYAS, Dr William Evelyn, gave a lecture in which he was severely critical of the NER's proposed memorial. He told his audience "I think it is an enormous pity that they cannot find room in which to place a sacred emblem commemorative of the patriotism, bravery, and self-sacrifice of our own soldiers of the twentieth century and that it should be considered necessary to deface and despoil another sacred emblem". The City War Memorial Committee and representatives of the NER met with Charles Reed Peers, the Ancient Monuments Board's chief inspector, at the NER's offices on 8 July 1922, in preparation for which the NER erected a full-size wooden model of their proposed memorial. Peers approved the city's scheme, noting that its proposed location was in fact a newer structure and not part of the walls' ramparts, but requested that Lutyens submit a revised design for the NER's memorial to move it away from the wall. Lutyens acquiesced but observed that the modifications would require a reduction in the size of the screen wall and thus in the size of the names to be listed on it, which he felt was detrimental to the scheme. He submitted the revised designs and they were approved in October 1922.
The remaining issues were largely resolved after the city relented to public pressure and opted to site its memorial on a plot of land off Leeman Road, just outside the city walls, and for a reduced scheme in the form of a cross due to a shortage of funds. Coincidentally, the land was owned by the railway company and the NER board donated it to the city in a mark of gratitude for the good relations between the company and the city; the NER had by that time been amalgamated into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) as a result of the Railways Act 1921.
Built from Portland stone, the memorial is sited against the ramparts of the city walls. It consists of a single, 30-foot (9-metre) obelisk rising from a three-tiered pedestal set into the rear portion of a three-sided screen wall. The wall creates a recess, sheltering a Stone of Remembrance. The two flanking sides terminate with urn-shaped finials; the ends of each wall are decorated with a laurel wreath in relief carving; the inside of the walls is further decorated with laurel swags below the urns. The rear wall bears further relief swags to either side of the obelisk; the North Eastern Railway Company's coat of arms is engraved on the pedestal of the obelisk, just above the level of the screen wall, which is surrounded by another laurel wreath. The obelisk rises above the screen wall to a total height of 54 feet (16 metres). The Stone of Remembrance is a monolith in the shape of an altar, 12 feet (3.7 metres) long and curved so slightly as to barely be visible to the naked eye; it is deliberately devoid of any decoration besides the inscription "THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE".
The dedication is inscribed in the centre of the rear part of the screen wall: "IN REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE MEN OF THE NORTH EASTERN RAILWAY WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY THE COMPANY PLACES THIS MONUMENT"; the dates of the First World War are inscribed to either side. The 2,236 names were inscribed on panels affixed to the wall. Behind the Stone of Remembrance are 15 slates set into the floor of the memorial in 1984, bearing the names of the LNER's 551 dead from the Second World War.
The North Eastern Railway War Memorial was finally constructed once the ancient Monuments Board approved Lutyens' modified design; it was unveiled by Field Marshal Herbert Plumer, 1st Baron Plumer (later 1st Viscount Plumer) at a ceremony on 14 June 1924,and dedicated by the Archbishop of York Cosmo Gordon Lang. A crowd of five to six thousand people gathered for the ceremony, among them multiple civic officials and officers of the LNER and former NER, including Sir Ralph Wedgwood, chief officer of the LNER; the Sheriff of York; and the lord mayors of Bradford, Hull, and York. Sentries from the Durham Light Infantry stood at the four corners of the Stone of Remembrance. Among those to give speeches was Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon, a member of the NER's board and the former foreign secretary famous for his remark "the lamps are going out". Grey spoke of the losses caused by the war: "the old North Eastern board and its general manager numbered some twenty persons. Out of those twenty, four lost sons in the war; three lost only sons. There is no reason to suppose that proportion is exceptional". At the conclusion of the service, the "Last Post" was sounded and the crowd observed two minutes' silence. The city's war memorial was unveiled a year later.
The inscriptions, particularly the names of those killed, suffered from exposure to the elements. Restoration work, including re-carving, was carried out in the 1980s, funded by donations from the British Railways Engineers Ex-Servicemen's Association match-funded by British Rail. Erosion continued in the years following and in lieu of re-carving them and causing further damage to the memorial, the names were recorded in a book which is held by the National Railway Museum.
The memorial was designated a grade II* listed building (a status which offers statutory protection from demolition or modification, defined as "particularly important buildings of more than special interest" and applied to about 5.5% of listed buildings) on 10 September 1970.In November 2015, as part of commemorations for the centenary of the First World War, Lutyens' war memorials were recognised as a national collection and all 44 of his free-standing memorials in England were listed or had their listing status reviewed and their National Heritage List for England entries updated and expanded. As part of this process, the York City memorial was upgraded to grade II* to match the NER's memorial.
The Tower Hill Memorial is a pair of Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials in Trinity Square, on Tower Hill in London, England. The memorials, one for the First World War and one for the Second, commemorate civilian merchant sailors and fishermen who were killed as a result of enemy action and have no known grave. The first, the Mercantile Marine War Memorial, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1928; the second, the Merchant Seamen's Memorial, was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and unveiled in 1955. A third memorial, commemorating merchant sailors who were killed in the 1982 Falklands War, was added to the site in 2005.
Manchester Cenotaph is a war memorial in St Peter's Square, Manchester, England. Manchester was late in commissioning a First World War memorial compared with most British towns and cities; the city council did not convene a war memorial committee until 1922. The committee quickly achieved its target of raising £10,000 but finding a suitable location for the monument proved controversial. The preferred site in Albert Square would have required the removal and relocation of other statues and monuments, and was opposed by the city's artistic bodies. The next choice was Piccadilly Gardens, an area already identified for a possible art gallery and library; but in the interests of speedier delivery, the memorial committee settled on St Peter's Square. The area within the square had been had been purchased by the City Council in 1906, having been the site of the former St Peter's Church; whose sealed burial crypts remained with burials untouched and marked above ground by a memorial stone cross. Negotiations to remove these stalled so the construction of the cenotaph proceeded with the cross and burials in situ.
The Cenotaph is a war memorial on Whitehall in London, England. Its origin is in a temporary structure erected for a peace parade following the end of the First World War, and after an outpouring of national sentiment it was replaced in 1920 by a permanent structure and designated the United Kingdom's official national war memorial.
Southampton Cenotaph is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in Watts Park in Southampton, southern England. The memorial was the first of dozens by Lutyens to be built in permanent form and it influenced his later designs, including The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. It is a tapering, multi-tiered pylon which culminates in a series of diminishing layers before terminating in a sarcophagus which features a recumbent figure of a soldier. In front is an altar-like Stone of Remembrance. The cenotaph contains multiple sculptural details including a prominent cross, the town's coat of arms, and two lions. The names of the dead are inscribed on three sides. Although similar in outline, Lutyens' later cenotaphs were much more austere and featured almost no sculpture. The design uses abstract, ecumenical features and lifts the recumbent soldier high above eye level, anonymising him.
Rochdale Cenotaph is a First World War memorial on the Esplanade in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in the north west of England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is one of seven memorials in England based on his Cenotaph in London and one of his more ambitious designs. The memorial was unveiled in 1922 and consists of a raised platform bearing Lutyens' characteristic Stone of Remembrance next to a 10-metre (33 ft) pylon topped by an effigy of a recumbent soldier. A set of painted stone flags surrounds the pylon.
The Midland Railway War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Derby in the East Midlands of England. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1921. The memorial commemorates employees of the Midland Railway who died while serving in the armed forces during the First World War. The Midland was one of the largest railway companies in Britain in the early 20th century, and the largest employer in Derby, where it had its headquarters. Around a third of the company's workforce, some 23,000 men, left to fight, of whom 2,833 were killed.
The Arch of Remembrance is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in Victoria Park, Leicester, in the East Midlands of England. Leicester's industry contributed significantly to the British war effort. A temporary war memorial was erected in 1917, and a committee was formed in 1919 to propose a permanent memorial. The committee resolved to appoint Lutyens as architect and to site the memorial in Victoria Park. Lutyens's first proposal was accepted by the committee but was scaled back and eventually cancelled due to a shortage of funds. The committee then asked Lutyens to design a memorial arch, which he presented to a public meeting in 1923.
Spalding War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in eastern England. It was designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The proposal for a memorial to Spalding's war dead originated in January 1918 with Barbara McLaren, whose husband and the town's Member of Parliament, Francis McLaren, was killed in a flying accident during the war. She engaged Lutyens via a family connection and the architect produced a plan for a grand memorial cloister surrounding a circular pond, in the middle of which would be a cross. The memorial was to be built in the formal gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall, which was owned by the local district council. When McLaren approached the council with her proposal, it generated considerable debate within the community and several alternative schemes were suggested. After a public meeting and a vote in 1919, a reduced-scale version of McLaren's proposal emerged as the preferred option, in conjunction with a clock on the town's corn exchange building.
Northampton War Memorial, officially the Town and County War Memorial, is a First World War memorial on Wood Hill in the centre of Northampton, the county town of Northamptonshire, in central England. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a Stone of Remembrance flanked by twin obelisks draped with painted stone flags standing in a small garden in what was once part of the churchyard of All Saints' Church.
Norwich War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Norwich in Eastern England. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the last of his eight cenotaphs to be erected in England. Prior to Lutyens' involvement, several abandoned proposals had been made for commemorating Norwich's war dead, and by 1926 the newly elected lord mayor was determined to see the construction of a memorial before he left office. He established an appeal to raise funds for local hospitals in memory of the dead as well as a physical monument. He commissioned Lutyens, who designed an empty tomb (cenotaph) atop a low screen wall from which protrudes a Stone of Remembrance. Bronze flambeaux at either end can burn gas to emit a flame. Lutyens also designed a roll of honour, on which the names of the city's dead are listed, which was installed in Norwich Castle in 1931.
The York City War Memorial is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in York in the north of England. Proposals for commemorating York's war dead originated in 1919 but proved controversial. Initial discussions focused on whether a memorial should be a monument or should take on some utilitarian purpose. Several functional proposals were examined until a public meeting in January 1920 opted for a monument. The city engineer produced a cost estimate and the war memorial committee engaged Lutyens, who had recently been commissioned by the North Eastern Railway (NER) to design their own war memorial, also to be sited in York. Lutyens' first design was approved, but controversy enveloped proposals for both the city's and the NER's memorials. Members of the local community became concerned that the memorials as planned were not in keeping with York's existing architecture, especially as both were in close proximity to the ancient city walls, and that the NER's memorial would overshadow the city's. Continued public opposition forced the committee to abandon the proposed site in favour of one on Leeman Road, just outside the walls, and Lutyens submitted a new design of a War Cross and Stone of Remembrance to fit the location. This was scaled back to the cross alone due to lack of funds.
Southend-on-Sea War Memorial, or Southend War Memorial, is a First World War memorial in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on the east coast of England. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a Grade II* listed building.
Busbridge War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the churchyard of St John's Church in village of Busbridge in Surrey, south-eastern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is Grade II* listed.
The British Thomson-Houston Company War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Rugby, Warwickshire, in the West Midlands of England. It was erected by the British Thomson-Houston Company in memory of the firm's employees who left to fight in the First World War and were killed in service. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it was unveiled in 1921 and is now a grade II* listed building.
The Royal Berkshire Regiment War Memorial or Royal Berkshire Regiment Cenotaph is a First World War memorial dedicated to members of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and located in Brock Barracks in Reading, Berkshire, in south-east England. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, based on his design for the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, and is today a grade II* listed building.
The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the Cowley area of Oxford in southern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it commemorates men of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry killed in the conflict; it was unveiled on Armistice Day, 11 November 1923, and has been a grade II listed building since 1972.
The Leeds Rifles War Memorial is a First World War memorial outside Leeds Minster on Kirkgate in Leeds, West Yorkshire in northern England. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of 15 instances of his War Cross and the only one commissioned by a regiment. The memorial, dedicated to members of the Leeds Rifles who fell in the First World War, was unveiled on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 1921, and is today a grade II listed building.
Hove War Memorial is a First World War memorial on Grand Avenue in Hove, East Sussex, on the south-east coast of England. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir George Frampton and closely resembles Fordham War Memorial in Cambridgeshire, which was also a collaboration between Lutyens and Frampton. It was unveiled in 1921 and is today a grade II listed building.
Fordham War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the village of Fordham in Cambridgeshire in eastern England. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir George Frampton and closely resembles Hove War Memorial in East Sussex, which was also a collaboration between Lutyens and Frampton. It was unveiled in 1921 and is today a grade II listed building.
Muncaster War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the parish of Muncaster on the west coast of Cumbria in the far north-west of England. The memorial is one of fifteen War Crosses designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens; it was unveiled in 1922 and is now a grade II listed building.