Creighton Memorial


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1408781

Date first listed: 05-Oct-2012

Location Description: Hardwicke Circus, Carlisle, Cumbria


Ordnance survey map of Creighton Memorial
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Location Description: Hardwicke Circus, Carlisle, Cumbria

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Carlisle (District Authority)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: NY4015256371


Memorial to J R Creighton, 1898 to the designs of Charles J Ferguson, with sculptural elements by Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud.

Reasons for Designation

This memorial to J R Creighton, designed by Charles J Fergusson in 1896 is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Designer: Charles J Fergusson was a talented and well respected architect whose work has recently been assessed as achieving a standard of execution beyond that of a purely regional architect; * Sculptors: the memorial was executed by Farmer & Brindley, a nationaly renowned firm of architectural sculptors who contributed pieces to numerous listed buildings; working through the firm, Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud contributed the two high quality sculptural pieces; * Artistic quality: this is a memorial of intrinsic quality which has been well handled by its designer and well executed by its sculptors to produce a good example of late Victorian public sculpture which characterised the age.


This memorial was erected in 1898 following the death in 1896 of J R Creighton, Alderman, twice Mayor of Carlisle and the leading figure in many local government projects. The decision to commemorate his life was taken at a special public meeting within weeks of his death; the cost of the memorial is understood to have been between £500 and £600, raised by subscription. The memorial was unveiled on 8 October 1898 and the Mayor, the Speaker of the House of Commons (MP for Carlisle) and Creighton’s brother, the Bishop of London, gave the addresses. J R Creighton was a council member for 22 years and initiated many projects for the improvement of the city including the new Market Hall (1889), Tullie House Library and Museum (1893) and the Lowther Street improvement Scheme (1895-96). The monument was erected upon a high stepped base within a large triangular ornamental garden at the centre of the Lowther Street Improvement Scheme, and at the entrance to Carlisle from the north.

The memorial was designed by Charles J Ferguson (1840-1904), an architect with practices in Carlisle and London who concentrated largely on ecclesiastical and country house commissions. Ferguson was a prolific architect and his work is considered to have achieved a similarly high standard of execution as that of the renowned architectural firm of Paley & Austin of Lancaster. Ferguson has more than 30 listed buildings to his name, six of which are graded at II* and all but one are in Cumbria. His work includes Carlisle Cathedral, the old town hall, Tullie House museum and the Cumberland Infirmary. This memorial was executed by Messrs Farmer and Brindley, of Westminster, whose work features in numerous listed buildings.

Two sculptural elements, the bronze of Creighton and the St George and Dragon set are by Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud (1858-1921), a pupil of Jouffroy and Roubaud the younger. He was resident in London between 1893 and 1904, and among the works he completed during this time were eight statues in Bronze and marble of famous naturalists and explorers, Sefton Park, Liverpool, and Sarah Siddons, Paddington (Grade II).

In 1970 the memorial was taken down to facilitate the construction of the Carlisle ring road and a new roundabout; the centre of this large roundabout is a sunken garden, and in 1971 the monument was re-erected in these gardens only a few metres from its original position on a two-stepped base of red sandstone rather than its original high stepped base. It has recently been painted white and some elements picked out in red paint and gold leaf.


MATERIALS: lime based artificial stone, red sandstone plinth, bronze portrait. DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of a tall, tapering column set upon a triangular enriched podium with concave sides; each face is enclosed by carved balusters and form large enclosed panels: the first panel bears a bas-relief portrait in Bronze of Mr Creighton enclosed within a wreath with ribbons and scrolls, all in high relief. The second panel bears the inscription: 'ON HIS DEATH BED HE SENT A MESSAGE TO HIS FELLOW CITIZENS EXPRESSING HIS PROFOUND CONVICTION THAT THE GREATNESS OF ENGLAND DEPENDED UPON ITS CAPACITY FOR LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT. HE TRUSTED THAT CARLISLE WOULD NEVER BE WITHOUT A DUE SUPPLY OF MEN WHO REGARDED IT AS BOTH THEIR DUTY AND THEIR PLEASURE TO DEVOTE THEIR ZEAL AND ENERGY TO THE PROMOTION OF THE WELFARE OF THE CITY'. The third panel reads: JAMES ROBERT CREIGHTON/MAYOR OF CARLISLE 1880-1 AND 1888-9/DIED SEPTEMBER 6TH 1896

The upper part of the podium is decorated with flowing scrolls and carved shields bearing the arms of Carlisle, and surmounting the podium are three carved consoles supporting the base of the column itself. The base of the column has a broad band of waved volutes, and it is surmounted with a carved and foliated capital supporting a life-sized group of St George and the Dragon. The memorial stands on two-stepped base of red sandstone.


'Léon Joseph Chavalliaud', Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951, accessed from
Creighton Memorial : Unveiling Ceremony, Carlisle Patriot, 7 Oct 1898,
The Creighton Memorial : The Ceremony of Unveiling, Carlisle Journal, 7 Oct 1898,

End of official listing