Nottingham Municipal War Memorial
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Memorial Gardens, Victoria Embankment, Nottingham, NG2 2JY
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- Statutory Address:
- Memorial Gardens, Victoria Embankment, Nottingham, NG2 2JY
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- City of Nottingham (Unitary Authority)
- Non Civil Parish
- National Grid Reference:
Municipal war memorial, dated 1927. By T Wallis Gordon, City Engineer. Portland stone ashlar, with wrought-iron gates. Tripartite triumphal arch with giant Doric columns and inscribed frieze in Classical Revival style: three pairs of wrought-iron gates; on each side, curved colonnades with intermediate pedestals; wrought-iron railings.
Reasons for Designation
Nottingham Municipal War Memorial, situated at Victoria Embankment, Nottingham 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 community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20; * Architectural interest: a triumphal arch in the Doric style with impressive flanking colonnades and elegant wrought-iron gates and railings, designed by T Wallis Gordon, Nottingham City Engineer, overlooking ornamental gardens provided by Sir Jesse Boot; * Group value: as part of a distinctive ensemble of designated heritage assets, including a number of Grade II-listed structures and the contemporary Memorial Gardens included at Grade II on the Register of Parks and Gardens.
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: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Nottingham as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives in the First World War.
Nottingham’s Mayor and Lord Lieutenant called for a public meeting in early 1919 to decide on the form that the memorial should take. Initial suggestions put forward included setting up a University, providing help for the General Hospital, building a social institution or venue for ex-servicemen to meet in, providing memorial homes, a campanille, or an architectural and/or sculptural monument. It was decided to launch an appeal for £100,000 for the extension and improvement of the General Hospital (of which £90,000 was provided by Sir Jesse Boot and WG Player) and to set aside £20,000 of public money for the erection of a monument intended to be located in the Market Place.
By September 1920, it was announced in the local press that the plans to erect a monument in the Market Place were to be postponed, after it became known that Sir Jesse Boot (founder of Boots the Chemist) intended a gift to the City which would include an enduring memorial to the fallen. The Council prepared itself for criticism in halting its plans, particularly from those who suggested that the money might be better spent on helping veterans directly, or building houses. Local press reported on strong criticism by the local Joint Council of Ex-Servicemen, who objected to any scheme proposing a monument at public expense. They had suggested the money would be better spent on interest-free business loans for veterans, houses for veterans and widows, or new beds for veterans and their dependents in the local hospitals.
It was not until October 1922 that the corporation announced that its memorial would be the 36-acre memorial park on Trentside land that had been given by Sir Jesse Boot in 1920, to incorporate a memorial archway with gates, the whole costing c£70,000. The eastern riverside part of what was at that time known as New Park was to be laid out as Memorial Gardens with an archway designed by City Engineer, T Wallis Gordon. The monumental arch design took the form of a triple-arched Doric revival gateway with flanking curved colonnades, leading onto a terrace wall overlooking the rest of the ornamental gardens.
The City secured a c£50,000 loan from the Ministry of Health for the works, and also made use of a contribution from the Unemployment Grants Committee in order to give some of the work to local unemployed. The foundation stone was laid by the Prince of Wales in August 1923 but the scheme was not completed until November 1927. Complaints were published in the local press about long delays, which the Council put down to the large amount of ground works and site preparation necessary.
The gateway was unveiled on 11 November 1927 by the Mayor, Alderman Huntsman, and was dedicated by James Gordon, the Vicar of St Mary’s. Several thousand people attended the ceremony. The Robin Hoods (7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters) paraded. The main gate was cloaked in a Union Flag, which was removed when the service began. The Mayor commented that around 40,000 men from Nottinghamshire had served during the war, and an estimated 10,000 of these had lost their lives. The gateway was later used to commemorate those service personnel who died in the Second World War.
T Wallis Gordon ARIBA worked as City Engineer and Surveyor for Nottingham Corporation from 1896 until 1935. In his 39 years with the Corporation he carried out c£9million of works. Some of his largest schemes were transport depots and road developments, including Nottingham’s outer ring road. He also improved many of Nottingham’s streets and drains, bridges, schools, libraries, baths, and the tramways.
Municipal war memorial, dated 1927, by T Wallis Gordon, City Engineer.
The memorial stands in the eastern part of the Grade II-registered Memorial Gardens, Victoria Embankment, Nottingham. The eastern arc of the gateway and colonnade overlooks the River Trent, whilst the gateway is aligned to the central ornamental pond of the Memorial Gardens to the west. The Portland stone memorial comprises a c14m high and c18m wide Doric triumphal triple arch, flanked by curving colonnade walls that are c6m high and c26m long with intermediate pedestals.
The central archway is c8m high and c5m wide, with the two arches either side being c6m high and c2.5m wide. On the eastern side the dates 1914 – 1918 (to the left) and 1939 – 1945 (to the right) are carved above the side arches. The arch openings are gated with ornamental wrought iron work, with the City coat of arms adorning the central gate. The frieze above bears the inscription VIVIT POST FUNERA VIRTUS carved in relief, with triglyphs and guttae centred above each of the arch’s columns. The strongly projecting cornice with dentils and mutule band carries a parapet on which, to the centre, the City arms are carved in relief. The western side of the arch, facing the garden, is treated slightly differently, with squared engaged columns supporting a freize of triglyphs and metopes below the cornice. The parapet is un-decorated on this side. Bronze plaques, with inscriptions cast in relief, are fixed to the interior walls of the archway:
(plaque to left) CITY OF NOTTINGHAM/ IN EVER GRATEFUL MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF NOTTINGHAM/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR/ KING AND COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918/ ERECTED BY THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS
(plaque to right) CITY OF NOTTINGHAM/ THIS TABLET WAS PLACED HERE/ TO HONOUR THE MEMORY OF/ THOSE MEN AND WOMEN/ OF NOTTINGHAM WHO FELL/ IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939 - 1945
(foundation stone) THIS FOUNDATION STONE WAS LAID BY/ HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES KG KT MC/ ON WEDNESDAY 1ST AUGUST 1923
A further bronze plaque on the central arch reproduces in full Marshal Foch’s 1918 tribute to the Sherwood Foresters.
The curving colonnades to either side comprise three bays each with a similarly decorated frieze, simple cornice and low parapet continuing to the end piers. The colonnades end in short returning walls, parallel to Victoria Embankment, with a final pier. The railings on the plinth, between the columns in each bay, are also continued along these returning walls. The terrace wall to the west, overlooking the ornamental pond and gardens, is listed at Grade II.
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, 24 January 2017.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Boorman, D, At the Going Down of the Sun, (1988)
Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Nottinghamshire, (1979)
War Memorials Online, accessed 24 January 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/147236
War Memorials Register, accessed 13/06/2016 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/28
Punt, S. (1996) The Management of Nottinghamshire’s War Memorials. Unpublished dissertation, Nottingham.
The Nottingham Evening Post, 1919-1935
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.
End of official listing