First World War Memorial of 1929 by L F Roslyn, in shap granite with bronze. A cenotaph in the form of a needle rising from a base of three square steps, with a square plinth, bas-relief panels and a granite obelisk.
Reasons for Designation
Rawtenstall Cenotaph, which stands in Library Gardens, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the entire local community, both servicemen and civilians, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a well-executed and elegant design showing the reliefs to best advantage;
* Sculptural interest: the bronze bas relief work is exceptional and shows Roslyn, a nationally prominent sculptor of his time and who is particularly associated with commemoration of the War, at his best;
* Quality of craftsmanship: the cenotaph is of outstanding quality and on the reliefs, the figures' realism is enhanced by an acute attention to detail making the figures eminently relatable and allowing identification of the uniforms of those depicted.
The Rawtenstall cenotaph was unveiled on the 29th June 1929 to a design by Louis Frederick Roslyn (1878--1934).
A newspaper article entitled "Rawtenstall's War Shrine: unveiling and dedication of town's memorial" provides details of the large unveiling ceremony. About a thousand people took part in the procession which was headed by a detachment of the 4/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment and included the sculptor and representatives of a wide range of local public bodies in addition to members of the British Legion and other ex-servicemen and the parents, widows and children of the Fallen who carried posies.
Following the playing of the National Anthem, a prayer and the hymn "O God our help in ages past", County Councillor Carrie Whitehead addressed the crowd before the memorial was unveiled as buglers from the East Lancashire Regiment sounded the last post and a minute’s silence was observed.
Louis Frederick Roslyn (born Roselieb) was a London-born sculptor of German ancestry. At the Royal Academy schools he was awarded the Landseer scholarship and a travelling scholarship. In 1917 he entered service with the Royal Flying Corps at the School of Military Aeronautics. He became a member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1914, and a Fellow in 1923. Roslyn is particularly associated with the war and was one of the most prolific sculptors of war memorials, with more than two dozen known including examples at Oswaldtwistle, Darwen, Buxton, Port Talbot, Portstewart, Northern Ireland and Trinidad in the Caribbean; more than ten of his war memorials are listed, as are at least three of his other works. The prominence given to civilians and females in some of his war memorials is unusual.
In July 2009 the bronze Second World War plaque was stolen, the current replacement being fitted in November of that year.
First World War Memorial of 1929, by L F Roslyn in shap granite and bronze.
The Cenotaph takes the form of a needle rising from a base of three square steps, with a square plinth, bas-relief panels and a granite obelisk. It forms the focal point of the Library Gardens between Rawtenstall Library and St Mary's Parish Church.
The square steps are of granite, with the centre stone of each side of the top step and the upper surface on which the plinth rests subtly whiter. The plinth has two further steps rising to its square base, which has an ovolo moulding with a cavetto above and is carved with a wreath and garland on the east and west faces, and torus upper moulding. The south face has a bronze plaque with the inscription:
A TRIBUTE OF HONOUR/ TO THE MEN WHO/ MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/ TO THE MEN WHO CAME BACK/ AND TO THOSE WHO WORKED AT HOME/TO WIN SAFETY FOR THE EMPIRE/ 1914-1918
The north face has a plaque with the inscription:
TO THE MEMORY OF/ ALL WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE/ OF THEIR COUNTRY DURING THE SECOND/ WORLD WAR 1939-45/ ALL WHO SERVED ON SEA, LAND OR IN THE AIR/ AND ALL WHO WORKED AND SERVED AT HOME/ 1939-1945
Above is the bronze bas relief, signed LF Roslyn RBS, depicting members of the Armed Forces in high relief on each angle, guarding civilian workers in lower relief between. The panels depict:
Soldier (at left angle), Women’s Land Army, Women’s Forestry Service, woman and child, Women’s Royal Naval Service.
Airman (at left angle), Voluntary Aid Detachment, nurse, munitions worker, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
Royal Army Medical Corps (at left angle), labourers, fisherman, Special Constable.
Sailor (at left angle), miner, postman, railwayman, mechanic.
The reliefs are surmounted by a square granite obelisk with twice-stepped top. At the top of the south face is a bronze of a palm leaf with a garlanded wreath, symbols of victory and commemoration.