Rochdale Cenotaph

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Rochdale Cenotaph
United Kingdom
Rochdale War Memorial (4).JPG
For servicemen from Rochdale killed in the First World War
Unveiled1922;97 years ago (1922)
Location 53°36′58″N2°09′35″W / 53.616238°N 2.159743°W / 53.616238; -2.159743 Coordinates: 53°36′58″N2°09′35″W / 53.616238°N 2.159743°W / 53.616238; -2.159743
Rochdale town centre, Greater Manchester, England
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens
TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF ROCHDALE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR / THEY WERE A WALL UNTO US BOTH BY NIGHT AND BY DAY
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameRochdale Cenotaph
Designated12 February 1985
Reference no. 1084274

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 on Whitehall 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.

World War I memorials commemorate the events and the casualties of World War I

World War I memorials commemorate the events and the casualties of World War I. These war memorials include civic memorials, larger national monuments, war cemeteries, private memorials and a range of utilitarian designs such as halls and parks, dedicated to remembering those involved in the conflict. Huge numbers of memorials were built in the 1920s and 1930s, with around 176,000 erected in France alone. This was a new social phenomenon and marked a major cultural shift in how nations commemorated conflicts. Interest in World War I and its memorials faded after World War II, and did not increase again until the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the renovation of many existing memorials and the opening of new sites. Visitor numbers at many memorials increased significantly, while major national and civic memorials continue to be used for annual ceremonies remembering the war.

Esplanade long, open, level area, usually next to a river or a (former) miltary building where people may walk

An esplanade or promenade is a long, open, level area, usually next to a river or large body of water, where people may walk. The historical definition of esplanade was a large, open, level area outside fortress or city walls to provide clear fields of fire for the fortress's guns. In modern usage the space allows people to pave the area as a pedestrian walk; esplanades are often on sea fronts, and allow walking whatever the state of the tide, without having to walk on the beach. Esplanades became popular in Victorian times when it was fashionable to visit seaside resorts. A promenade, often abbreviated to '(the) prom', was an area where people – couples and families especially – would go to walk for a while in order to 'be seen' and be considered part of 'society'.

Rochdale town in Greater Manchester, England

Rochdale is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines on the River Roch, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) northwest of Oldham and 9.8 miles (15.8 km) northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, which had a population of 211,699 in 2011.

Contents

A public meeting in February 1919 established a consensus to create a monument and a fund for the families of wounded servicemen. The meeting agreed to commission Lutyens to design the monument. His design for a bridge over the River Roch was abandoned after a local dignitary purchased a plot of land adjacent to Rochdale Town Hall and donated it for the site of the memorial. Lutyens revised his design, and Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, unveiled the memorial on 26 November 1922. It is a Grade I listed structure, having been upgraded in 2015 when Lutyens' war memorials were declared a national collection.

River Roch river in Lancashire, United Kingdom

The River Roch is a river in Greater Manchester in North West England, a tributary of the River Irwell that gives Rochdale its name.

Rochdale Town Hall Grade I listed seat of local government in the United Kingdom

Rochdale Town Hall is a Victorian-era municipal building in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. It is "widely recognised as being one of the finest municipal buildings in the country", and is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. The Town Hall functions as the ceremonial headquarters of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and houses local government departments, including the borough's civil registration office.

Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby British politician

Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby,, styled Mr Edward Stanley until 1886, then The Hon Edward Stanley and then Lord Stanley from 1893 to 1908, was a British soldier, Conservative politician, diplomat, and racehorse owner. He was twice Secretary of State for War and also served as British Ambassador to France.

Background

In the aftermath of the First World War and its unprecedented casualties, thousands of war memorials were built across Britain. Almost all towns and cities erected some form of memorial to commemorate their fallen. The mayor of Rochdale called a public meeting on 10 February 1919, three months after the armistice, to discuss proposals for the town's commemorations. Consensus was that the town should have a monument and a fund to provide for wounded servicemen, their families, and the families of the 2,000 war dead from Rochdale. Public subscription raised £29,443 10s, covering the £12,611 cost of the memorial. [1] [2]

Armistice of 11 November 1918 armistice during First World War between Allies and Germany

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.

£sd pre-decimal currency system of the pound, shilling, and penny

£sd is the popular name for the pre-decimal currencies once common throughout Europe, especially in the British Isles and hence in several countries of the British Empire and subsequently the Commonwealth. The abbreviation originates from the Latin currency denominations librae, solidi, and denarii. In the United Kingdom, which was one of the last to abandon the system, these were referred to as pounds, shillings, and pence.

Commissioning

The public meeting in February 1919 agreed to appoint Sir Edwin Lutyens as architect for the project. He was one of the most prominent designers of war memorials in Britain, described by Historic England as "the leading English architect of his generation". [1] Before the war, Lutyens established a reputation designing country houses for wealthy patrons, but the war had a profound effect on him. From 1917 onwards, he dedicated much of his time to memorialising the casualties. He went on to design the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, which became the focus for the national Remembrance Sunday commemorations and subsequently the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme in France and many other memorials in Britain and the Commonwealth. [1] [3] [4] [5]

Edwin Lutyens British architect

Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, was an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses, war memorials and public buildings. In his biography, the writer Christopher Hussey wrote, "In his lifetime (Lutyens) was widely held to be our greatest architect since Wren if not, as many maintained, his superior". The architectural historian Gavin Stamp described him as "surely the greatest British architect of the twentieth century".

Historic England Executive non-departmental public body of the British Government, tasked with protecting the historical environment of England

Historic England is an executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It is tasked with protecting the historical environment of England by preserving and listing historic buildings, ancient monuments and advising central and local government.

Lutyens proposed a memorial bridge crossing the River Roch in front of Rochdale Town Hall. At that time the river flowed openly through the town centre but has since been culverted. On either side of the bridge would have been recumbent effigies of a soldier lying on a bier and a Stone of Remembrance on the bridge. The plan was abandoned when Alderman William Cunliffe, a former mayor, bought a dilapidated 18th-century house (known as "the Manor House" or "the Orchard") on the opposite side of the river and donated the site for the war memorial. The site had particular poignancy as the building had been used as a recruiting station during the war. Lutyens' new design involved demolishing the Manor House to make way for a cenotaph and a Stone of Remembrance. Lutyens designed the stone for use in Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries but it also features in several of his war memorials. Rochdale's cenotaph is among seven others by Lutyens in England based on the one in Whitehall, and is among the most ambitious of his designs to come to fruition. [1] [2]

Culvert Structure that allows the passage of water or organisms under an obstruction

A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail, or similar obstruction from one side to the other side. Typically embedded so as to be surrounded by soil, a culvert may be made from a pipe, reinforced concrete or other material. In the United Kingdom, the word can also be used for a longer artificially buried watercourse.

Tomb effigy

A tomb effigy, usually a recumbent effigy or in French gisant is a sculpted figure on a tomb monument depicting in effigy the deceased. Such compositions, developed in Western Europe in the Middle Ages, continuing into Renaissance, and early modern times, and still sometimes used. They typically represent the deceased in a state of "eternal repose", lying with hands folded in prayer and awaiting resurrection. A husband and wife may be depicted lying side by side. An important official or leader may be shown holding his attributes of office or dressed in the formal attire of his official status or social class.

Bier

A bier is a stand on which a corpse, coffin, or casket containing a corpse, is placed to lie in state or to be carried to the grave.

Design

The war memorial comprises a cenotaph beside a Stone of Remembrance Rochdale War Memorial (2).JPG
The war memorial comprises a cenotaph beside a Stone of Remembrance

The memorial was constructed by Hobson Limited of Nottingham. While many First World War memorials feature sculpture or overt religious symbolism, Rochdale's, like many of Lutyens' memorials, uses abstract and ecumenical shapes inspired by classical architecture. [6] [7] It comprises two elements: a 10-metre (33 ft) pylon and a Stone of Remembrance formed from light grey Cornish granite which are raised on a platform (stylobate) of three steps. The cenotaph is raised on six steps on the platform, and rises in diminishing tiers of broadly rectangular cross section, with its long axis oriented southeast to northwest. On the plain first tier are four carved and painted stone flags with gilt bronze poles, two to either side: the Union Flag and the White Ensign on the southwest side, and the Royal Air Force Ensign and the Red Ensign on the northeast. The flags flank a second, smaller, tier which has a semi-column at either end and which culminates in a smaller plinth supporting a catafalque. At the top is a sculpture of a recumbent soldier draped with his coat. The design for the pylon is based on Lutyens' Midland Railway War Memorial, unveiled in Derby in 1921. [1] [4] [8] Painted stone flags are a recurring feature in Lutyens' war memorial designs. He first proposed them for Whitehall's Cenotaph, where they were rejected in favour of fabric flags, but they appear on several of his other memorials including Northampton War Memorial and Leicester's Arch of Remembrance. [9]

Classical architecture architectural style

Classical architecture usually denotes architecture which is more or less consciously derived from the principles of Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, or sometimes even more specifically, from the works of Vitruvius. Different styles of classical architecture have arguably existed since the Carolingian Renaissance, and prominently since the Italian Renaissance. Although classical styles of architecture can vary greatly, they can in general all be said to draw on a common "vocabulary" of decorative and constructive elements. In much of the Western world, different classical architectural styles have dominated the history of architecture from the Renaissance until the second world war, though it continues to inform many architects to this day.

Pylon (architecture) monumental gateway of an Egyptian temple

Pylon is the Greek term for a monumental gateway of an Egyptian temple. It consists of two tapering towers, each surmounted by a cornice, joined by a less elevated section which enclosed the entrance between them. The entrance was generally about half the height of the towers. Contemporary paintings of pylons show them with long poles flying banners.

Granite A common type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock with granular structure

Granite is a common type of felsic intrusive igneous rock that is granular and phaneritic in texture. Granites can be predominantly white, pink, or gray in color, depending on their mineralogy. The word "granite" comes from the Latin granum, a grain, in reference to the coarse-grained structure of such a holocrystalline rock. Strictly speaking, granite is an igneous rock with between 20% and 60% quartz by volume, and at least 35% of the total feldspar consisting of alkali feldspar, although commonly the term "granite" is used to refer to a wider range of coarse-grained igneous rocks containing quartz and feldspar.

The memorial is not strictly a cenotaph as the sculpture at the top is a human figure rather than an empty tomb. [10] By raising the figure above the ground on the pylon, Lutyens gives him anonymity, representing the fallen while allowing onlookers to impart their own emotions onto the memorial. [11] By placing the figure at the top of the pylon, Lutyens also draws attention to the detail at the top of the pylon, connecting the beauty of the design to the memory of the fallen soldier. [12] To either side of the plinth, above the flags, carved wreaths surround Rochdale's coat of arms. The central part of the structure is inscribed in gold lettering: 1914–1919 / 1939–1945; TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF ROCHDALE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR; MCMXIV + MCMXIX / ET / MCMXXXIX + MCMXLV and THEY WERE A WALL UNTO US BOTH BY NIGHT AND BY DAY—a quotation from the First Book of Samuel, chapter 25, verse 16, selected from suggestions made by readers of the Rochdale Observer. [1] [13]

The Stone of Remembrance lies to the southeast between the cenotaph and the town hall, raised above the platform by three steps. It is inscribed: THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE. Other inscriptions commemorating the dead of the Second World War were added later, including a bronze plaque reading TO ALL THOSE WHO DIED / IN THE / SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY. [1] [14] [15] [16] The use of a cenotaph with a Stone of Remembrance at its feet is reminiscent of Southampton Cenotaph, Lutyens' first to come to fruition. [17] The surrounding memorial gardens are dedicated to the members of the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and serve as Rochdale's memorial to the Second World War. [1] [15]

History

The cenotaph, with the tower of Rochdale Town Hall in the background Town Hall and Cenotaph, Rochdale.jpg
The cenotaph, with the tower of Rochdale Town Hall in the background

Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby, unveiled the memorial on Sunday 26 November 1922 and the Archdeacon of Rochdale gave a dedication. [1] Derby was a descendant of a Lancashire family involved in local politics for generations. He served in various public offices during the First World War, including Director General of Recruiting and Secretary of State for War, before being appointed Britain's ambassador to France at the end of the war. Two years after unveiling the Rochdale memorial, Lord Derby presided over the unveiling of Manchester Cenotaph, another Lutyens design. [2]

Rochdale Cenotaph was designated as a Grade II listed building on 12 February 1985, the designation noting the cenotaph's visual relationship with Rochdale Town Hall, Rochdale Post Office, and a set of lamp posts (each of which are listed in their own right). [1] The status offers legal protection from demolition or modification; Grade II is applied to structures of "special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them", about 92 per cent of listed buildings. In November 2015, as part of commemorations for the centenary of the First World War, Lutyens' war memorials were recognised as a "national collection". All his free-standing memorials in England were listed or had their listing status reviewed and National Heritage List for England entries were updated and expanded. As a result, Rochdale Cenotaph was upgraded to Grade I, which is applied to around 2.5% of listed buildings, those of "the greatest historic interest". [18] [19]

See also

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References

Bibliography

Citations

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Historic England. "Rochdale Cenotaph (1084274)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 Skelton, p. 63.
  3. Skelton, pp. 24–25.
  4. 1 2 Amery et al., p. 148.
  5. Stamp, Gavin. "Lutyens, Sir Edwin Landseer (1869–1944), architect". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/34638.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. Winter, pp. 102–104.
  7. Borg, p. 96.
  8. King, p 150.
  9. Ridley, p. 311.
  10. Amery et al., pp. 154–155.
  11. King, p. 139.
  12. Carden-Coyne, p. 155.
  13. Boorman, p. 124.
  14. "Rochdale Cenotaph". Imperial War Museum . Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  15. 1 2 Pevsner, p. 597.
  16. Wyke, pp. 323–324.
  17. Brown, p. 175.
  18. "The Listing and Grading of War Memorials". Historic England. July 2015. p. 2. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  19. "National Collection of Lutyens' War Memorials Listed". Historic England. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016.