First World War memorial by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, 1922, with later inscriptions.
Reasons for Designation
Spalding War Memorial, situated in the gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall and unveiled in 1922, is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944) who designed 58 memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall;
* Architectural interest: its Tuscan pavilion is a precursor to the shelter buildings built in the cemeteries of the Western Front by the then Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission for whom Lutyens was one of the principal architects;
* Historic association: the principal elements of the memorial, the Tuscan pavilion and the Stone of Remembrance, stand within a memorial garden – an exceptional departure for Lutyens among his English memorials – created from an element of an older formal garden;
* Group value: with the adjacent Grade I listed Ayscoughfee Hall and the Grade II registered landscape within which it stands.
The proposal for a memorial to commemorate the 224 First World War fallen of Spalding, arose from Barbara McLaren, the wife of the town’s MP Francis McLaren. McLaren was a member of the Royal Flying Corps and had died in a flying accident near Montrose on 30 August 1917. Mrs McLaren was a niece of Lutyens’ noted collaborator, Gertrude Jekyll, and Lutyens had already designed a house for the McLarens in London (Corner House, Cowley Street, Grade II-listed).
Mrs McLaren wrote to Spalding Urban District Council on 26 January 1918 saying that she had already commissioned Lutyens to design a suitable memorial for the fallen of Spalding and proposed the construction of a cloister garden in the grounds of Ayscoughfee Hall, a late medieval and later house, bought with its early C18 garden by the Council, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
Lutyens’ proposal was dramatic – a U-shaped cloister wrapped around a Stone of Remembrance and focussed upon a circular lily pool in the middle of which was a cross.
The proposal stimulated considerable local debate and a number of alternative schemes began to emerge, which were discussed at a passionate public meeting on 1 August 1919 chaired by JJ Chilvers, the chairman of Spalding Urban District Council. A number of alternative proposals were debated. It was decided to put seven of them to a public vote within the town, which was duly taken on 23 August. The favoured scheme was a combined proposal for a reduced scale version of Lutyens’s design along with a carillon to be built on the roof of the Corn Exchange in the town centre (proposed by Dr Ernest Farrow, the owner of a local engineering company).
The Spalding War and Victory Memorials Committee was formed following a meeting on 10 September 1919, but fundraising was slow. Some £2,000 of the memorial’s eventual cost of £3,500 was contributed by Mrs McLaren and her father-in-law. The memorial was built by Hodson Ltd. of Nottingham. The pavilion and Stone of Remembrance replaced an earlier castellated tower at the southern end of the gardens, and the canal was also re-worked. The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Ian Hamilton and dedicated by Rev AC James, Assistant Chaplain-General, at a well-attended ceremony held on 8 June 1922. Hamilton unveiled the Stone of Remembrance while, simultaneously, three ex-Service men revealed the inscribed panels in the pavilion.
Whilst sufficient money was raised to purchase 23 bells for the carillon there was no money for their installation until a bell tower was built on the Corn Exchange in the early 1930s. The mechanism fell into disrepair and, although it was then installed in the South Holland Centre, it was not until the Centre was completely reconstructed in 1998 that it was restored to a full playing condition. Further names were added to the pavilion in 2015.
Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.
MATERIALS: brick, stone, tile.
DESCRIPTION: The war memorial garden lies in the southern area of the gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall. The Hall is Grade I-listed; the registered gardens, Grade II.
At the head of the memorial garden is the Temple of Remembrance, a brick pavilion with three Tuscan stone arches to the front and a single arch to each side; it has a solid rear wall. The roof is hipped, and clad in red pantiles. The floor has panels of red herringbone brickwork with stone surrounds. On the rear wall are two painted stone flags – the Union Flag (left) and White Ensign (right). The tops of the flagpoles are ornamented with pinnacles and encircled by laurel wreaths. The bases of the flagpoles are currently (2015) missing; these should rise from the shallow corbels set against the wall for that purpose. Three panels are set on the inner rear wall: the central one with the dedication and names added in 2015, the outer panels with the names of the fallen in the First World War.
The principal dedication incised on the central panel, between the two flags, reads IN LOVE AND HONOUR/ OF THOSE WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ IN/ THE YEARS OF WAR/ MCMXIV – MCMXIX/ THIS MEMORIAL IS RAISED/ IN THEIR HOME/ BY THE MEN AND WOMEN/ OF/ SPALDING. This panel also bears names added in 2015. The 224 names originally inscribed on the memorial are listed on the two panels either side of the flags. Around the frieze inside the pavilion is carved ETERNAL REST GRANT TO THEM O LORD AND LET LIGHT PERPETUAL SHINE UPON THEM.
In front of the pavilion, raised on a platform of three steps, stands a Stone of Remembrance (designed by Lutyens for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission). The inscription on the north face reads THEIR NAME LIVETH/ FOR EVERMORE with 1914/ 1918 to the left and 1939/ 1945 to the right.
Extending from the Stone of Remembrance, and at a slightly lower level, is the axial canal approached by stone steps. The canal, which appears on the John Grundy map of 1732, was re-worked by Lutyens to act as a reflecting pool for the memorial with ashlar side walls and a flagged surround. Three low but elaborate stone fountains stand along the length of the canal; photographic evidence suggests these are a later installation. Square beds at the south-west and south-east corners of the canal contain mature yews, and the garden is surrounded by mature yew hedging.
Asphalt paths that lead around the garden perimeter, and iron-work arches of circa 1994, which lead through the eastern yew hedge to the contemporary Peace Garden beyond, are not of special interest and are excluded from the listing.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 23 January 2017.