First World War memorial with names added for subsequent conflicts. Executed by Gilbert Bayes and unveiled in 1921.
Reasons for Designation
Hythe war memorial 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 two World Wars;
* Artistic and design interest: in its particularly finely crafted depiction of servicemen, and its stylish overall composition;
* Sculptor: a strong example of the work of Gilbert Bayes, a noted British sculptor.
Hythe war memorial was unveiled on 16 July 1921 by Earl Beauchamp. Dedicated to the men of Hythe who fought and died in the First World War, the names of those who fell in the Second World War, and in subsequent conflicts, have since been added.
The memorial is the work of noted sculptor Gilbert Bayes (1872-1953). Bayes studied at Finsbury Technical College, and then at the Royal Academy Schools. His early work was diverse in its range; he was committed to the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement, believing the artist’s role was to serve the community. He came to national prominence as a sculptor through his war memorials work, showing a tendency towards stylised art deco forms. The use of figurative bas-relief carvings on pillars and plinths is a repeating motif in his work, found at Todmorden (West Yorkshire) and Broadstone (Dorset) war memorials (both listed Grade II), as well as at Hythe. His work also appears on a number of listed buildings, such as Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London (listed Grade II*), and the former Saville Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue (listed Grade II), which features Bayes remarkable 129 foot frieze depicting drama through the ages. Bayes served as President of the Royal Society of Sculptors from 1939-1944.
The memorial stands in a small garden of remembrance beside the Grand Military Canal.
It takes the form of a white marble pillar, square in section, the faces carved with a bas-relief frieze of twelve servicemen from the different forces and ranks. The corners of the pillar are rounded and carved with laurel garlands. The pillar is capped with a marble orb, with a stylised depiction of the sea, laid in blue mosaic, and carved fish. On the orb stands a bronze winged figure of Victory holding aloft a bronze model of a medieval Cinque Ports ship.
The monument stands on a square marble base in the centre of what was a shallow circular pool, now planted as a bed. Around the bed is a wide stone pavement. Bronze lion-head spouts were once mounted on the base of the monument, presumably to act as a fountain, but the spouts have now been lost. Behind, is a low, curved, stone wall, with the inscription: THESE DIED THAT WE MAY LIVE, and below are mounted ceramic panels bearing the names of the 154 fallen of World War I. The wall originally terminated with a pier at either end. These piers now bear plaques to those who fell in subsequent conflicts, including 40 who fell in World War II, and the wall has been extended to either side, following the curve of the original section before straightening out to form short wings, which terminate with a second set of piers.
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, 30 November 2016.