664-1/12/55 LONDON SQUARE
15-NOV-72 WAR MEMORIAL OBELISK, NORTH-EAST COLON
NADE, SOUTH-WEST COLONNADE, POOLS OF R
EMEMBRANCE AND MEMORIAL GARDEN WALLS, AND
CAST-IRON LAMP STANDARDS
(Formerly listed as:
WAR MEMORIAL OBELISK)
(Formerly listed as:
WWI war memorial assemblage, 1923, by Grayson & Barnish of Liverpool with A L McMillan, carvings and inscriptions designed and produced by Herbert Tyson Smith, Portland stone, Classical style, WWII inscription and fountains added in 1956.
PLAN: Quinquepartite composition of war memorial structures with obelisk forming central element on island site midway between large north-east and south-west colonnades and memorial gardens, modern granite paving in between.
OBELISK: 67ft 6" high, set upon a square pedestal and base. Carved roundel to front north-west face of obelisk base contains a carved wreath and inscription, which reads 'LOOK UPWARD STANDING MUTE. SALUTE' (last two lines of Barry Pain's Armistice Day poem, 'The Army of the Dead') with 'MCMXIV - MCMXVIII' carved to the base below. Plain north-east face. Carved roundel to rear south-east face contains a depiction of the Southport arms and the motto 'SALUS POPULI' ('the welfare of the people'). Carved roundel to south-west face added in 1956 (designed by Barnish, carved by Tyson Smith) reads 'TO THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THIS COUNTY BOROUGH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD & THE SECURITY OF THIS REALM IN THE WORLD WAR 1939 - 1945 THEIR NAMES ARE RECORDED IN THE BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE WHICH LIES NEARBY IN THE KEEPING OF CHRIST CHURCH/THE FOUNTAINS ADDED TO THE MEMORIAL POOLS ARE DEDICATED TO THEIR HONOURED MEMORY'.
COLONNADES: Exterior: Identically styled but with differing inscriptions and carvings. In style of Greek temples, set on slightly sloping ground with the lowest point to the north-west end. Single storey, flat-roofed, symmetrical. Four pairs of fluted Doric columns to each side forming five-bay open colonnade linking enclosed square cenotaphs at each end with entablature above containing inscriptions. Paired lion head reliefs above inscriptions are aligned with the columns below. An open window to each north-east and south-west side lights the cenotaphs, each with a carved panel above depicting classical trophies of war. Painted cast-iron lamp standards (cast by the Bromsgrove Guild) with fluted columns and acanthus leaf bases set upon square stands with raised angled feet to each corner flank the outer bays of the open colonnade and are attached in front on square stone plinths. Four taller clustered lamp standards in similar style sit within the square surrounding the obelisk. Carved inscriptions and symbolic imagery to panels to north-west and south-east end elevations of colonnades.
Interior: Coffered ceilings, fluted Ionic columns set to each end flanking the cenotaph entrances. Cenotaphs contain a centrally placed carved pedestal altar and Meurial marble tablets to the walls inscribed with the names of WWI engagements, carved regimental badges, and the names of the dead and their rank (1273 names) arranged by regiment and unit. Largest marble tablet to centre rear of each cenotaph is inscribed and has a decorative carved head incorporating a coat of arms. Tablet is flanked by vertical panels with relief carvings of palms and wreaths. Tall plaques set into each wall flanking the cenotaph entrances (replacing original bronze flag brackets) commemorate those lost during WWII (549 names), added in 1992. Represented branches of the armed forces include the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), Polish Air Force, Royal Marines, Military Police, various Army Corps, and the Auxiliary Training Service (the women's branch of the army during WWII), along with the Home Guard. Plaque to south-east end of north-east colonnade also incorporates C21 inscriptions to those who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan (two names).
NORTH-EAST COLONNADE: Rectangular plan on north-west / south-east axis, facing south-west to obelisk. Inscription to entablature to south-west side reads 'TELL.BRITAIN.YE.WHO.MARK.THIS.MONUMENT'. Tall carved panel to north-west end elevation depicts figure of 'Victory' represented by Britannia holding a statuette of Victory, entablature above displays carved lettering reading 'MCMXIV'. Inscription to entablature to north-east side of colonnade facing Pool of Remembrance reads 'THEIR.PORTION.IS.WITH.THE.ETERNAL' by the poet Laurence Binyon. Partly raised paved platform to north-east side of colonnade overlooks memorial garden and Pool of Remembrance (mirrored to south-west colonnade). Tall carved panel to south-east end elevation displays carved relief of inverted torches and wreath with inscription below reading 'THEY.DIED.THAT.WE.MIGHT.LIVE. WE.LIVE.ONLY.AS.WE.SAFEGUARD.THE.IDEALS.FOR.WHICH.THEY.DIED.FREEDOM.JUSTICE.MERCY. SO.LET.US.LIVE.THAT.WE.MAY.SHARE.WITH.THEM.THE.LIFE.ETERNAL' written by Frederick Riley.
Interior: Carved cylindrical altar pedestal to centre of north-west cenotaph depicts Patroclus and Achilles and further names of the dead. Inscription to main decorative carved tablet to north-west wall reads 'FOR.THE.SACRED.CAUSE.OF.JUSTICE' (from the tomb of the unknown warrior). Names of WWI engagements inscribed to cenotaph walls above name tablets include Le Cateau, Hindenburg Line, Vimy Ridge, Salonica, R. Selle & Cambrai. Carved cylindrical altar pedestal to centre of south-east cenotaph depicts Britannia and names of the dead. Inscription to main decorative carved tablet to south-east wall reads 'ON.THE.DECK.OF.FAME.THEY.DIED' (from Thomas Campbell's 'Battle of the Baltic'). Names of WWI engagements inscribed to cenotaph walls above name tablets include Mesopotamia, Zeebrugge, Jutland, Falkland, Palestine & Gallipoli.
SOUTH-WEST COLONNADE: Rectangular plan on north-west / south-east axis, facing north-east. Inscription to entablature to north-east side carries on from that to north-east colonnade and reads 'FAITHFUL.TO.HER.WE.FELL.AND.REST.CONTENT' (adaptation of the famous epitaph of Simonides on the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae). Crude inscription to lamp standard base to north-east side reads 'HASTWELL GRAYSON/LEONARD BARNISH/ALEC L MCMILLAN/ARCHITECTS/H.TYSON SMITH/SCULPTOR'. Tall carved panel to north-west end elevation depicts figure of 'Mourning' represented by Britannia offering a tribute to the dead (represented by a military helmet), entablature above displays carved lettering reading 'MCMXVIII'. Inscription to entablature to south-west side of colonnade facing Pool of Remembrance reads 'TO.FAMOUS.MEN.ALL.EARTH.IS.SEPULCHRE' (translation of a sentence given by Thucydides in his History, Book II of the funeral oration spoken by Pericles about the Athenians who fell in the first year of the Peloponnesian War). Tall carved panel to south-east end elevation with carved relief of arms and wreath (identical to that to north-east colonnade) with inscription below reading 'REMEMBER.THAT.THE.MEN.WHOSE.NAMES.LIVE.ON.THESE.WALLS.DIED.IN.YOUTH.OR.PRIME.THAT.FUTURE.GENERATIONS.MIGHT.INHERIT.A.HAPPIER.WORLD.AND.A.HUMAN.SOCIETY.MORE.RIGHTEOUS.AND.MORE.LOVING.THAN.THOSE.BRAVE.MEN.AND.THEIR.GENERATION.KNEW' (adaptation of the inscription on the US Army memorial to American soldiers who fell in France).
Interior: Carved cylindrical altar pedestal to centre of north-west cenotaph depicts Death and the Soldier, and names of the dead. Inscription to main decorative carved tablet to north-west wall reads 'ALL.THAT.THEY.HAD.THEY.GAVE' (from Kipling's 'The King's Pilgrimage'). Names of WWI engagements inscribed to cenotaph walls above name tablets include Somme, Foret de Mormel, Arras, Mons, Marne & Aisne. Carved cylindrical altar pedestal to centre of south-east cenotaph depicts Victory and names of the dead. Inscription to main decorative carved tablet to south-east wall reads 'THEIR.NAME.LIVETH' (Ecclesiasticus xliv, 14). Names of WWI engagements inscribed to cenotaph walls above name tablets include Festubert, Neuve Chapelle, Messines Ridge, Passchendaele, Loos & Ypres 1.
MEMORIAL GARDENS & POOLS OF REMEMBRANCE: Set to each outer side of the colonnades is a lawned memorial garden enclosed to the north-west and south-east sides by low Portland Stone balustrading surmounted to the south-east sides by short cast iron lamp standards in the same style as those to each colonnade. Each garden contains a long rectangular Pool of Remembrance with flat Portland stone copings to the edges, and a low carved parapet wall to the colonnade end with shaped ends and a carved lion's head spout flanked by carved lettering reading 'MCMXXXIX - MCMXXXXV'. Both pools also contain three small fountains introduced in 1956 to commemorate those lost during WWII.
HISTORY: Shortly after the signing of the Armistice on 14 November 1918, the then Mayor of Southport, Alderman Wood, proposed the construction of a memorial, and in February 1919 it was decided to proceed with the project. An Executive Committee was established to consider several schemes and it was finally decided to provide a monument in London Square, and also to establish an endowment fund providing educational scholarships for children who had lost their fathers during the war, and to raise funds for an extension to the local infirmary. Public subscription raised a total of £31,849, with c. £14,000 allocated for the memorial.
Following a national competition judged by Sir Reginald Blomfield (Imperial War Graves Commission architect and designer of the Menin Gate at Ypres) the design of George Hastwell Grayson (previously a partner of the notable architect firm, Grayson & Ould) and Leonard Barnish (previously an assistant at Grayson & Ould) of Liverpool with A L McMillan was selected as the final design from 45 entries sent in by architects and sculptors. The winning design included an obelisk, two colonnades containing cenotaphs, two reflecting pools (Pools of Remembrance) set within small gardens, and cast-iron lamp standards. Grayson & Barnish's design illustrations were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1920 (with further drawings exhibited in 1923) and also reproduced in The Builder, December 1923.
The builders of the memorial were Messrs. W Moss & Sons Ltd. of Loughborough, Liverpool & London, and the Pools of Remembrance were laid out by the Borough Surveyor, A E Jackson, and the Parks Superintendent, W Clark. The memorial's carving, decorative and figurative work was designed and produced by the renowned Liverpool sculptor, Herbert Tyson Smith.
Work on the memorial was delayed due to a shortage of skilled labour following WWI and the lack of the required amount of Portland stone available from a single quarry. Work finally commenced in July 1922 and was unveiled on 18 November 1923 by the Earl of Derby.
An inscription commemorating those who died during WWII (designed by Barnish and produced by Tyson Smith) was later added to the obelisk and unveiled on 28 October 1956, along with commemorative fountains in the reflecting pools. Plaques recording the names of those lost during WWII were added to the cenotaphs in 1992, with further names subsequently added recording those lost in C21 warfare, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brodie A. 2001. Directory of British Architects 1834-1914: A-K. Pages 119 & 771.
Greenwood C. 1971 ed. Thatch, Towers and Colonnades: the story of architecture in Southport. Pages 60-63.
Hartwell C & Pevsner N. 2009. The Buildings of England Series. Lancashire: North. Page 631.
Quinlan M. 2005. British War Memorials.
Southport Borough Council. 1923. Salus Populi: A Book of Remembrance in the Order of Solemn Ceremonial and Service Appointed for use on the occasion of the Unveiling of the War Memorials of the County Borough of Southport by the Right Hon. The Earl of Derby K.G. G.C.B. G.C.V.O., assisted by children of the fallen heroes.
The Builder. December 21 1923. 'Southport War Memorial'. Pages 962-964.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The War Memorial Obelisk, North-East Colonnade, South-West Colonnade, Pools of Remembrance, memorial garden walls, & cast iron lamp standards at London Square are designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* They form a highly striking, powerful and reverential war memorial assemblage designed by the notable architects, Grayson & Barnish of Liverpool with A L McMillan, and carvings and inscriptions by the renowned C20 architectural sculptor, Herbert Tyson Smith
* The structures combine to create a Place d'Honneur that was specifically designed to provide a sense of dignity and atmosphere within the town centre, and an architectural monument
* The memorial's massive scale and exceptionally detailed design, and the large number of inscribed names, demonstrates the heroism and sacrifice of the small town of Southport during the Great War, and the immense pride of its people
* The memorial's classical styling, including an imposing obelisk over 67ft high and two colonnades in the style of ancient Greek temples incorporates carved imagery and inscriptions, which draw comparison to battles in ancient Greece and slain warriors
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, 27 January 2017.