First World War civic memorial within a memorial garden laid out in 1920, incorporating garden gate piers, gate, C18 garden walls, and C19 balustrades. Architect Charles Bateman.
Reasons for Designation
Lichfield War Memorial, garden walls, balustrades, gates and gate piers, in the War Memorial Garden situated on Bird Street, Lichfield, are listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: Charles Bateman was an architect of regional significance, whose highly original design for the war memorial screen is unusual both in form and in using the English Renaissance style;
* Group value: with the contemporary War Memorial Garden, also designed by Bateman, part of the Grade II-registered Cathedral Close and Linear Park.
The history of the city of Lichfield’s association with the army goes back to the formation there of the 38th Regiment of Foot, raised by Colonel Lillingston in 1705. By the First World War, Lichfield was the depot for the four Reserve Battalions of the South Staffordshire and North Staffordshire Regiments. Six additional battalions were raised in the city in 1914 for Kitchener’s New Army; in the South Staffordshire Regiment, 7th and 8th Battalions served in France, and 9th Battalion in Italy, whilst in the North Staffordshire Regiment 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions all served in France. The 1st (Garrison) Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment, formed in 1917 also in Lichfield, served in India. The two regimental war memorials (both Grade II-listed), were unveiled on 30 September 1922 at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield.
Lichfield’s War Memorial Garden, at the north-west corner of Minster Pool, was laid out to a design by CE Bateman FRIBA as a Garden of Rest on a site owned by the Corporation. It incorporated existing C18 walls to the north and east of the plot with C19 balustrading (including two urns) taken from Shenstone Court erected to the west and south, and is part of the Grade II-registered Cathedral Close and Linear Park. A new wrought iron gate by JC Culwick of Lichfield, bearing the motto PAX – 1919, was inserted into the western balustrading, with an ancient boundary stone incorporated into the right-hand gate pier. The works, including laying reinforced concrete foundations, began in 1919 and were over-seen by the City Surveyor, PA Benn.
The large war memorial screen, also designed by Bateman, was built by Messrs Robert Bridgeman and Sons against the east wall. It commemorates 209 local servicemen who died during the First World War: the War Memorial Committee had decided to restrict the names to those of the fallen who had been born in Lichfield, or who were living in the city at the time they enlisted.
The garden was opened, and the memorial screen unveiled, on 20 October 1920 by the Mayor, Councillor HG Hall, and dedicated by the Bishop of Lichfield. The garden was filled with a crowd of civic and ecclesiastical dignitaries, the families of the commemorated men, representatives of the armed services and the uniformed organisations, buglers of the 6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, the band of the 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the combined choirs of the cathedral and Lichfield’s churches, and local residents. The chair of the War Memorial Committee, Major Longstaff, presented the memorial to the Mayor. Many wreaths were laid.
Following the Second World War further inscriptions were added to the memorial, commemorating the 83 men who died in that conflict. The garden was restored in 2009 at a cost of c£60,000, including some remedial works to the war memorial screen: these works were supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and War Memorials Trust and won a British Association of Landscape Industries award in 2012.
Charles Edward Bateman (1863-1947) was born in Castle Bromwich, the son and grandson of the architects John and Joseph Bateman. He entered into partnership with his father in Birmingham in 1887. Their work was mainly domestic, receiving a mention by Muthesius in Das Englische Haus. Bateman’s other war memorials include the Erdington War Memorial Chapel and the HE Whittall Memorial Screen (both 1920, in St Barnabas Church, Erdington, destroyed by fire in 2007) and the Eleanor Cross at Warwick (1921).
Messrs Robert Bridgeman and Sons, architectural sculptors and monumental masons, were responsible for the construction of a number of war memorials. Of many different types and materials and often large fixtures inside churches, their work includes the 29th Division War Memorial, Stretton-on-Dunsmore (Grade II*-listed), and the memorial porch to GE Street’s Church of St Editha, Amington (Grade II). Active from 1912 to 2011, the firm operated from Quonian Lane, Lichfield.
Overshadowed by Lichfield Cathedral to the north, the war memorial screen stands at the east wall of the garden, part of the Cathedral Close and Linear Park (Grade II-registered). It was first listed at Grade II on 5 February 1952 along with the red brick C18 garden walls, gate piers and C19 stone balustrading. The wrought iron garden gate with an ornamented overthrow bearing the motto PAX – 1919 is hung from large brick piers with ashlar caps. These support tall stone heraldic lions bearing Lichfield city’s coat of arms and frame the war memorial from Bird Street.
Designed in the English Renaissance style, the war memorial comprises a large ashlar screen wall in Guiting stone in the form of a classical basilican church façade, raised on a high plinth. The pedimented centre of the screen, raised on reeded and fluted Roman Ionic pilasters, encloses a semi-circular shell-headed niche with a Portland stone figure of St George standing on the dragon. St George holds a bronze spear in his right hand and his shield in his left. The tympanum of the pointed pediment is decorated with a scallop shell and leaves carved in relief.
The niche is flanked by panels with the six years from 1914 to 1919 suspended from lion masks and interspersed with bunches of hanging fruit and flowers. The side compartments have crowned wreaths in the half gables with swept copings and panelled end piers. The end piers are topped with tall urn-like pinnacles finished each with a ball and draped foliage.
The lower part of the memorial contains six Westmorland slate plaques in two rows of three. The principal dedicatory inscription, flanked by lists of names, on the upper middle plaque reads REMEMBER WITH THANKSGIVING/ THE MEN OF THIS CITY/ WHO IN THEIR/ COUNTRYS HOUR OF NEED/ WENT FORTH/ ENDURED HARDNESS/ FACED DANGER/ AND FINALLY/ PASSED OUT OF/ THE SIGHT OF MEN/ BY THE PATH OF SACRIFICE/ AND THE GATE OF DEATH/ LET ALL WHO COME AFTER/ SEE TO IT/ THAT THESE DEAD/ SHALL NOT HAVE DIED/ IN VAIN/ THAT THEIR NAME/ BE NOT FORGOTTEN/ AND WHAT THEY STROVE FOR/ PERISH NOT. The upper left and right plaques list further names.
The later dedication, also flanked by names, on the lower middle plaque reads THESE LOWER PANELS/ ARE DEDICATED/ TO THOSE/ WHO DIED/ IN THE CAUSE/ OF FREEDOM/ DURING/ THE WORLD WAR/ 1939-1945/ AND THE/ STRUGGLES WHICH/ FOLLOWED. The two plaques either side record the remaining fallen of the Second World War.
While the ensemble is listed as an entity, it is the memorial itself which possesses the more than special interest.
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, 19 January 2017.