First World War memorial, 1922, dedicated to the staff of J Lyons and Company.
Reasons for Designation
J Lyons and Company First World War Memorial, situated in Margravine Cemetery, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* As an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this organisation, and the sacrifices their staff made in the First World War;
* The memorial was erected by the well-known J Lyons and Company, a leading British manufacturer of bread and cakes famous for their Corner Houses, as a tribute to their 227 staff who lost their lives during the war.
* A tall and striking granite memorial pillar.
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, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. As well as communities, other organisations such as schools and businesses also chose to honour their members with war memorials. One such memorial was erected by J Lyons and Company in 1922, dedicated to the former employees who died during the war.
Established in 1887, J Lyons and Company become known as a leading manufacturer of bread and cakes. Its head office was at Cadby Hall, Hammersmith Road, London. The company is also credited with the creation of the Corner Houses with live music, concert teas and the quintessential teashop which appeared in many high streets during the early part of C20.
By the start of the First World War, Lyons employed 15,000 staff. As part of the war effort Lyons packed 3.5 million composite rations for troops as well as Red Cross parcels for prisoners of war. The company also undertook parachute packing for supply drops, managed one of the largest munitions factories in Britain, and its engineering works made king pins for the Bailey bridges and components for other war material. Lyons also ensured that its employees received regular issues of the staff magazine, Lyons Mail.
Two hundred and twenty-seven former employees of the company lost their lives during the war. As a memorial to those who died, the company directors bought a large piece of land at Sudbury Hill, Middlesex, which became the Lyons Club Sports Ground. It was opened on 2 August 1919 by the Company chairman Montague Gluckstein. Three years later, a war memorial pillar was subsequently erected at the sports ground listing all 227 names on the four sides. It was designed by Lyons' house architect, Charles Oatley, and it was unveiled by General the Lord Horne on 7 October 1922 followed by a service conducted by the Reverend Walsh, vicar and rural dean of Hammersmith.
After the Second World War a further memorial was erected to honour the dead of that conflict. It took the form of an arc of Portland stone with the names of the 242 dead inscribed on five vertical tablets. Set behind the First World War memorial, it was officially unveiled during a ceremony on Remembrance Sunday, 9 November 1947.
The memorials were relocated in 1968 following the company’s disposal of the Sudbury Hill site. They were placed in a new Garden of Remembrance, within the grounds of the tea factory at Oldfield Lane North, Greenford. However, by 2000 this site was also earmarked for disposal and the memorials were again relocated. The Second World War memorial was at this stage almost completely rebuilt, with the removal of several architectural elements and the addition of a new base and lintel.
On 7 October 2002 the war memorials of J Lyons & Company were re-dedicated at their new position in Margravine Cemetery, Hammersmith, a short distance away from the company's former head office.
The memorial comprises an approximately 3.6m high, four-sided, nine-ton granite pillar with an ornate carved curving top and a splayed base. It is set upon a single-stepped base. The 227 names of those who fell in the First World War are listed in black letters in recessed panels on the four sides of the pillar.
A bronze wreath on the splayed base is inscribed in raised letters: ERECTED BY/ J. LYONS & CO LIMITED/ IN MEMORY OF/ THE STAFF WHO FELL IN THE/ GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1918.
A granite trough* installed in 2002 to hold wreaths is set at the front of the pillar and carries an inscription which records the memorial’s relocation to Hammersmith.
* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special or historic interest.
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, 20 July 2017.