First World War memorial. 1921, with later additions for the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
Wadhurst War Memorial, which stands in the Memorial Garden on High Street, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Design: a modest but elegant memorial by noted architect Sir Herbert Baker.
The memorial was erected in remembrance of the men of Wadhurst lost in the First World War and unveiled by Lt Cl G L Courthorpe on 8 May 1921. The architect was Sir Herbert Baker (1862-1946), The masons were the local firm A Burslem and Sons Ltd.
Additional inscriptions for the Second World War were made at a later date. The memorial was refurbished during 2014 by A Burslem and Sons Ltd and Arthur C Towner Ltd.
To recognise that more men from Wadhurst died in service during the First World War than were originally named on the war memorial, in 2014 an additional memorial stone was placed in the Memorial Garden.
In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Sir Herbert Baker made a proposal for a cross to stand in all of the Commission’s cemeteries, but a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield was chosen. Although the Commission’s architects were free to use crosses of their own choice within the cemeteries that they designed, the Blomfield cross proved to be the universal choice. Baker, nevertheless, used variants of his cross design for a number of English war memorials, including that at Wadhurst.
Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946) was born, and died, in Cobham, his English home. Articled to Arthur Baker in 1881, he was Assistant to Messrs Ernest George and Peto (1886-90) and attended the Royal Academy Schools. During the 1890s he was in South Africa, designing the Prime Ministerial residence ‘Groote Schuur’ and many private residences as well as government buildings following the South African union. From 1912 he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India on New Dehli. From 1917 to 1928 Baker was one of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission principal architects, for whom he designed 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He was also responsible for four Memorials to the Missing including those to the South Africans at Delville Wood and the Indians at Neuve Chapelle. He designed twenty-four war memorials in England. During the inter-war years his work at home included South Africa House (Grade II*), Rhodes House (Grade II*) and, his last major public commission, the Bank of England (Grade I).
The memorial, in Portland stone, is approximately 4m tall. It is in the form of an ornate wheel-head cross featuring spiral patterns carved in relief, mounted on an octagonal column. This stands on an octagonal plinth, raised on a three-stepped octagonal base. The memorial stands on area of stone paving within a small, hedged, garden.
The inscriptions are recorded around the plinth of the memorial as follows: IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN MEN OF WADHURST WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919/ LET THOSE WHO COME AFTER SEE TO IT THAT THEY BE NOT FORGOTTEN/ (NAMES)/ AND OF THOSE WHO FELL IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939-1945 (NAMES)
A small Portland stone block stands to the left of the war memorial. Erected in 2014, this bears a carving of the First World War memorial's wheel-head cross and an inscription as follows: WADHURST’S WAR MEMORIAL WAS/ ORIGINALLY CONSTRUCTED AND/ DEDICATED IN 1921. IN THIS CENTENARY/ YEAR OF THE DECLARATION OF WAR IN/ 1914 THIS STONE IS DEDICATED TO/ THE MEMORY OF ALL FROM WADHURST/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES INCLUDING/ THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE NOT/ OTHERWISE RECORDED HERE
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, 5 October 2017.
This List entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 10/05/2017