First World War memorial, 1924, by Sir Edwin Lutyens with later additions for the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
The North Eastern Railway Company war memorial, York, is listed at Grade II* for the following principle reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this company and the sacrifices made by its staff in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architect: designed by the nationally renowned architect, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944), who designed 58 extant memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall;
* Design: among the more ambitious of Lutyens’ six memorials incorporating obelisks;
* Historic association: a major company war memorial, one of several structures attesting that York was the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway Company;
* Group value: with the scheduled City Walls.
York was the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway Company (NER), and a site for the company war memorial was chosen outside its offices in the shadow of the city’s walls. In February 1920 the company decided to spend £20,000 rather than to seek subscriptions from its workforce. By October 1921 an agreement with Lutyens to design and oversee the memorial was in place. Over the following year there was much local controversy over the design and especially the siting of this memorial, and likewise the nearby City memorial which Lutyens was also designing. In the event revised plans for the NER memorial were approved in October 1922. The memorial was unveiled on 14 June 1924 by Field Marshall Lord Plumer.
The names of the fallen have suffered from erosion with the passage of time and, rather than recut the letters, the names are now contained in a List of Remembrance in the adjacent building.
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.
The North Eastern Railway Company war memorial stands at the head of Station Road, just inside the city walls. Of Portland stone, the memorial comprises an obelisk mounted on slightly canted walls screening three sides of a shallow, stepped, podium on which stands the Stone of Remembrance. Screen walls terminate in urn finials, laurel swags and wreaths. The pedestal to the obelisk is carved in relief with a laurel wreath enclosing the armorial shields of the North Eastern Railway Company. The screen wall has a central dedication panel draped in carved laurel garlands flanked by panels bearing the incised names of 2,236 men of the North Eastern Railway Company who lost their lives in the First World War. Behind the Stone of Remembrance 15 slate panels engraved with the names of those lost in the Second War are set in the raised pavement.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 26/10/2015
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, 1 February 2017.