East Grinstead War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1426308
Date first listed:
23-Jun-2015
Location Description:
The war memorial is located on the south side of the High Street in East Grinstead.
Statutory Address:
East Grinstead War Memorial, High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3AP

Map

Ordnance survey map of East Grinstead War Memorial
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Location

Statutory Address:
East Grinstead War Memorial, High Street, East Grinstead, West Sussex, RH19 3AP

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

Location Description:
The war memorial is located on the south side of the High Street in East Grinstead.
County:
West Sussex
District:
Mid Sussex (District Authority)
Parish:
East Grinstead
National Grid Reference:
TQ3950937956

Summary

A First World War memorial, unveiled in 1922, designed by the sculptor Ernest G Gillick of Chelsea.

Reasons for Designation

East Grinstead War Memorial, by the sculptor Ernest G Gillick, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20; * Design/Aesthetic interest: as a well-designed and intact memorial of local materials in its original design and location by the celebrated sculptor Ernest G Gillick; * Group Value: for its aesthetic relationship with other Grade II* and Grade II listed historic buildings and structures which stand along the High Street of East Grinstead.

History

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. The War Memorial at East Grinstead, erected on the south side of the High Street, is a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by members of the community of East Grinstead who lost their lives in the First World War. It was unveiled by Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Madden, Commander-in-Chief of the Atlantic Fleet on 23 July 1922. During his speech, he pointed out that some 1,000 of East Grinstead's population of about 7,000 had served in the First World War. The names of the local men who lost their lives during the Great War of 1914-1918 are listed on the memorial's five panels. A separate plaque added to the plinth of the memorial commemorates local residents who lost their lives in later conflicts.

In 2014, a commemorative paving stone was laid in front of the memorial in honour of Private Sidney Godley who was the first non-commissioned soldier to receive the Victoria Cross in the First World War. Private Godley was born in East Grinstead and sent to the Western Front with the 4th Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) when he was twenty-five years old. On 23 August 1914, at the Battle of Mons, Belgium he was badly wounded defending British positions at Nimy Railway Bridge. He defended the bridge for two hours in the face of a German attack, until he was captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp. He survived captivity to return home in 1918. He died on 29 June 1957 in Loughton, Essex where he latterly resided. He received the medal from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 15 February 1919.

The war memorial was designed and made by sculptor Ernest G Gillick of Chelsea. Gillick also sculpted the Cenotaph in George Square, Glasgow, and some of the statuary on the facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was erected by local masons Messrs Jenner and Grynyer. The current layout of the memorial with its circular base is similar to the original, as seen on a photograph taken during the unveiling ceremony in 1922. The sandstone walls on either side of the memorial extended to create the landscaped beds have been added at a later date.

Details

A war memorial designed by E G Gillick and unveiled in 1922.

The memorial comprises a hexagonal section Clipsham stone column on a tall plinth mounted on a stone base, and is approximately 7.5m high. The top of the column is carved with the date 1914 and is surmounted by an orb and gilt bronze cross. Of the six panels on the plinth, five list 205 local men who lost their lives in the First World War. The sixth panel, facing the High Street, bears the town's arms, of five feathers, and is inscribed " IN GRATITUDE TO THE/ MEN OF EAST GRINSTEAD/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ DURING THE WAR OF /1914-1918/ THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED/ BY THE INHABITANTS THAT/ FUTURE GENERATIONS/ MAY VALUE THE FREEDOM/ FOR WHICH THEY DIED/ AND THAT THEIR NAMES/ MAY BE KEPT IN/ HONOURED/ MEMORY" A smaller rectangular panel added to the plinth commemorates those who died in later conflicts. It reads "ALSO IN COMMEMORATION / OF THOSE WHO DIED IN THE 2ND WORLD WAR / 1939 – 1945 / AND SUBSEQUENT CONFLICTS".

A commemorative paving stone laid at the base of the memorial on 23 August 2014 honours Sidney Godley, born in East Grinstead, the first non-commissioned soldier to receive the Victoria Cross in the First World War. It reads "PRIVATE/ SIDNEY GODLEY/ROYAL FUSILIERS/(CITY OF LONDON REGT)/23RD AUGUST 1914" The memorial is set within a circular York Stone paved base reached by steps between two raised flower beds with retaining sandstone walls. The original walls on either side of the memorial's base have been extended at a later date to create the landscaped beds. The later wall extensions and flower beds* are not included in the listing.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

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 December 2016.

Sources

Websites
War Memorials Online, accessed 05/12/2016 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/140969
War Memorials Register, accessed 05/12/2016 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/16801
Other
English Heritage, Listing Selection Guide: Commemorative Structures, April 2011
http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Sussex/EastGrinstead.html/accessed on 27 March 2015

Legal

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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