Ascot War Memorial
List Entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: Ascot War Memorial
List entry Number: 1445824
High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7JH
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Windsor and Maidenhead
District Type: Unitary Authority
Parish: Sunninghill and Ascot
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 16-May-2017
Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.
This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.
List entry Description
Summary of Building
First World War memorial designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, with later additions for the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
Ascot War Memorial, which stands on the High Street, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20 and C21;
* Architectural interest: a simple yet elegant memorial cross in Portland stone;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946), who designed a number of memorials at home and abroad.
The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.
One such memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, was raised at Ascot as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Baker made a proposal for a cross to stand in all of the Commission’s cemeteries, but a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield was chosen. Although the Commission’s architects were free to use crosses of their own choice within the cemeteries that they designed, the Blomfield cross proved to be the universal choice. Baker, nevertheless, used variants of his cross design for a number of English war memorials, including that at Ascot.
The memorial commemorates 64 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the memorial’s base was raised and augmented so that the names of 28 men who died in that conflict could be added. The name of one soldier who fell in Afghanistan was added in 2011.
Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946) was born, and died, in Cobham, his English home. Articled to Arthur Baker in 1881, he was Assistant to Messrs Ernest George and Peto (1886-90) and attended the Royal Academy Schools. During the 1890s he was in South Africa, designing the Prime Ministerial residence ‘Groote Schuur’ and many private residences as well as government buildings following the South African union. From 1912 he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India on New Dehli. From 1917 to 1928 Baker was one of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission principal architects, for whom he designed 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He was also responsible for four Memorials to the Missing including those to the South Africans at Delville Wood and the Indians at Neuve Chapelle. He designed 24 war memorials in England. During the inter-war years his work at home included South Africa House (Grade II*), Rhodes House (Grade II*) and, his last major public commission, the Bank of England (Grade I).
The tall Portland stone memorial stands on the High Street outside the entrance to Ascot Racecourse Stables. It consists of a blind wheel-head cross with an octagonal shaft and moulded foot, standing on a base. The base comprises an octagonal drum with a shallow circular head. The base stands on a chamfered octagonal plinth, which is raised on a low octagonal step.
The inscription THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE is carved in relief around an arc of the circular head of the base, with a blank scroll filling the remaining space. The principal dedicatory inscription, on the front face of the base, reads TO THE MEMORY/ OF THE MEN OF/ ASCOT WHO DIED/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ +1914-1919+. First World War names are recorded on the base’s other faces. The Second World War names, with the dedication ALSO/ TO THOSE WHO DIED/ +1939-1945+, are recorded on the chamfered plinth.
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 6 June 2017.
War Memorials Online, accessed 6 June 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/147923/
War Memorials Register, accessed 6 June 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/7880
RIBA Drawings Collection: Drawings of Sir Herbert Baker
National Grid Reference: SU9159968825
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End of official listing