|Northampton War Memorial|
|For servicemen from Northamptonshire killed in the First and Second World Wars|
|Location|| Coordinates: |
Wood Hill, Northampton, England
|Designed by||Sir Edwin Lutyens|
|Official name||The Town and County War Memorial|
|Designated||22 January 1976|
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.
Discussion of a war memorial for Northampton began shortly after the armistice in 1918, and from July 1919 a temporary wooden cenotaph stood on Abington Street in the town centre. The Northamptonshire War Memorial Committee commissioned Lutyens to design a permanent memorial. The monument's design was completed and approved quickly, but its installation was delayed by six years until the site could be purchased from the Church of England, which required a faculty from the local diocese. The memorial was finally unveiled on 11 November 1926 after a service and a parade including local schoolchildren and civic leaders.
Northampton's memorial is one of the more elaborate town memorials in England. It uses three features characteristic of Lutyens's war memorials: a pair of obelisks, the Stone of Remembrance (which Lutyens designed for the Imperial War Graves Commission), and painted stone flags on the obelisks, which were rejected for his Cenotaph in London but feature on several of his other memorials. Today it is a Grade I listed building; it was upgraded from Grade II in 2015 when Lutyens's war memorials were declared a "national collection" and all were granted listed building status or had their listing renewed.
The First World War produced casualties on an unprecedented scale. Men from every town and village in Northamptonshire died in the war, with the exception of two thankful villages (East Carlton in the north of the county and Woodend in the south). In the war's aftermath, thousands of memorials were built across Britain.
Among the most prominent designers of war memorials was architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was described by Historic England as "the leading English architect of his generation".Prior to the First World War, Lutyens established his reputation designing country houses for wealthy patrons; in the war's aftermath, he devoted much of his time to memorialising the casualties. He served as one of the three principal architects to the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC; later the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, CWGC) and designed numerous war memorials for towns and villages across Britain, as well as several elsewhere in the Commonwealth. He was responsible for The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, which became the focal point of the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations; the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the largest British war memorial anywhere in the world; and the Stone of Remembrance (also known as the Great War Stone), which appears in all large Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries and forms part of several of his civic memorials, including Northampton's.
Northampton's first war memorial was a temporary cenotaph built from wood and plaster which stood in Abington Street from July 1919 as a placeholder until a more permanent memorial could be erected; the temporary cenotaph was the focal point for remembrance services until the installation of the permanent memorial. As in several towns and cities, there were discussions within the town as to whether its war memorial should serve a purely monumental purpose or some sort of community function. Suggestions included renovating civic buildings, a new 2,000-seat concert hall, and a classical-style arch on Guildhall road. The Northamptonshire War Memorial Committee, chaired by local landowner John Powys, 5th Baron Lilford, eventually commissioned Lutyens to design a purely commemorative monument, and selected a site in part of the churchyard of All Saints' Church. The memorial was funded by public donations, including a donation of £50 from Lord Lilford.
Lutyens's designs were complete by 1920 and approved in November of that year, but as the chosen site was part of the churchyard, and several graves would have to be relocated to accommodate the memorial, the war memorial committee had to seek a faculty from the Diocese of Peterborough (the diocese in whose jurisdiction Northampton falls), which delayed the installation.The Reverend Geoffrey Warden, vicar of All Saints' Church, submitted the application in 1922, supported by two church wardens and two parishioners. Construction work commenced only in 1926, six years after the completion of the designs. By July 1926, the Northampton Independent reported that the obelisks had been carved and were waiting for the flags to be painted before they could be erected.
Northampton's is a comparatively elaborate war memorial, especially for a town rather than a city. It consists of a Stone of Remembrance flanked by tall twin obelisks, each adorned with a pair of painted stone flags. Its use of obelisks, a Stone of Remembrance, and painted flags—all features characteristic of Lutyens's war memorials—make it particularly significant among his works.
Each obelisk sits on a tall, four-tiered rectangular column which itself stands on a wider, undercut square plinth. The obelisks and their supporting columns are ornately decorated. A narrow cross is set into the obelisks while the town's coat of arms is moulded onto the columns; the columns contain deep decorative niches, forming an arch shape beneath the obelisks. Obelisks feature in several of Lutyens's war memorials, though only Northampton's and Manchester's use a pair of flanking obelisks (in Manchester's case, the obelisks flank a cenotaph, rather than a stone); both are particularly fine designs in which Lutyens uses the obelisks with "dignity and simple dramatic effect", according to historian Richard Barnes.The obelisks are inscribed with the dates of the First and Second World Wars in Roman numerals (the inscriptions relating to the Second World War were added at a later date).
Two stone flags—painted in the form of the Union Flag and the flags of the Royal Navy (the White Ensign), Merchant Navy (the Red Ensign), and Royal Air Force (the RAF Ensign)—appear to hang from each obelisk, draping around the cornices; each flag is surmounted by gold wreaths. Lutyens first proposed stone flags for use on the Cenotaph on Whitehall, but the proposal was rejected in favour of fabric flags (though they were used on several other memorials, including Rochdale Cenotaph and the Arch of Remembrance in Leicester 12 feet (3.7 metres) long and devoid of any decoration beyond the inscriptions. Unusually, the Stone of Remembrance is inscribed on both faces. The east face bears the inscription Lutyens chose for all his Stones of Remembrance: "THEIR NAME LIVETH / FOR EVERMORE", as suggested by Rudyard Kipling, truncated from a verse in the Book of Ecclesiastes; the west face is inscribed "THE SOULS OF THE RIGHTEOUS / ARE IN THE HANDS OF GOD", from The Wisdom of Solomon.). The stone is a monolith (carved from a single piece of rock), curved so slightly as to barely be visible to the naked eye,
The whole memorial is raised on a stone platform that forms a narrow path between the stone and the obelisks. The Stone of Remembrance is further raised on three stone steps. The memorial stands in a small garden now just outside the All Saints' churchyard, defined by a low stone wall to the front and a yew hedge to the rear with ornamental gateways to either side. The gates are of cast iron and supported by large stone piers with urn finials. The wall is inscribed: "TO THE MEMORY OF ALL THOSE OF THIS TOWN AND COUNTY WHO SERVED AND DIED IN THE GREAT WAR".
The memorial was eventually unveiled on 11 November (Armistice Day) 1926, as part of a large ecumenical service, which included 5,000 local schoolchildren. Attendance was so great that the service could not be accommodated in the church and was instead held in the market square. At the conclusion of the service, the crowd proceeded to the new memorial; the parade was led by veterans from the Battle of Mons and included other military representatives, nurses from Northampton General Hospital, and the town's civic leaders. Once in the square, the unveiling was performed by General Henry Horne, 1st Baron Horne and the memorial was dedicated by the Reverend Norman Lang, Suffragan Bishop of Leicester. Horne committed the memorial to the care of the town's mayor and Northamptonshire County Council, and in his speech referred to Northampton's role as the county town; he observed that communities across Northamptonshire would be erecting their own memorials, but felt that it was "right and fitting that there should stand in the county town some visible monument, some tangible memorial appealing to the heart through the eye, of the bravery, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice of the men of Northamptonshire".The Prince of Wales laid a wreath during a ceremony on 7 July 1927, the year after the unveiling.
The Town and County War Memorial does not contain a list of casualties. The local branch of the Royal British Legion launched a campaign for a memorial dedicated to the town and containing a list of names. A garden of remembrance was built in Abington Square, the location of the original temporary cenotaph, and unveiled by Major General Sir John Brown in 1937; the names of the fallen were inscribed on the garden walls. The memorial to Edgar Mobbs—a professional rugby player from Northampton who was killed in the First World War in 1917—was moved into the garden.
The memorial was designated a Grade II* listed building on 22 January 1976.In November 2015, as part of commemorations for the centenary of the First World War, Lutyens's war memorials were recognised as a "national collection". All 44 of his free-standing memorials in England were listed or had their listing status reviewed and their National Heritage List for England list entries updated and expanded. As part of this process, Northampton War Memorial was upgraded to Grade I.
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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 Civil Service Rifles War Memorial is a First World War memorial located on the riverside terrace at Somerset House in central London, England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1924, the memorial commemorates the 1,240 members of the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles regiment who were killed in the First World War. They were Territorial Force reservists, drawn largely from the British Civil Service, which at that time had many staff based at Somerset House.
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.
The South African War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Richmond Cemetery in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is in the form of a cenotaph, similar to that on Whitehall, also by Lutyens. It was commissioned by the South African Hospital and Comforts Fund Committee to commemorate the 39 South African soldiers who died of their wounds at a military hospital in Richmond Park during the First World War. The memorial was unveiled by General Jan Smuts in 1921 and was the focus of pilgrimages from South Africa through the 1920s and 1930s, after which it was largely forgotten until the 1980s when the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took responsibility for its maintenance. It has been a grade II listed building since 2012.
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.
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.
Mells War Memorial is a First World War memorial by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the village of Mells in the Mendip Hills of Somerset, south-western England. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial is one of multiple buildings and structures Lutyens designed in Mells. His friendship with two prominent families in the area, the Horners and the Asquiths, led to a series of commissions; among his other works in the village are memorials to two sons—one from each family—killed in the war. Lutyens toured the village with local dignitaries in search of a suitable site for the war memorial, after which he was prompted to remark "all their young men were killed".
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 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.
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 Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment Cenotaph is a First World War memorial dedicated to members of the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment and located in Maidstone in Kent, south-eastern England. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens following his design for the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London and is today 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 Lancashire Fusiliers War Memorial is a First World War memorial dedicated to members of the Lancashire Fusiliers killed in that conflict. Outside the Fusilier Museum in Bury, Greater Manchester, in North West England, it was unveiled in 1922—on the seventh anniversary of the landing at Cape Helles, part of the Gallipoli Campaign in which the regiment suffered particularly heavy casualties. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lutyens was commissioned in light of a family connection—his father and great uncle were officers in the Lancashire Fusiliers, a fact noted on a plaque nearby. He designed a tall, slender obelisk in Portland stone. The regiment's cap badge is carved near the top on the front and rear, surrounded by a laurel wreath. Further down are inscriptions containing the regiment's motto and a dedication. Two painted stone flags hang from the sides.
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.
Sandhurst War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the village of Sandhurst in Kent, south-eastern England, close to the border with East Sussex. The memorial is one of fifteen War Crosses by Sir Edwin Lutyens and arguably the one with the most elaborate setting. It was unveiled in 1923 and is today a grade II listed building.