Harrogate War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II*
List Entry Number:
1446943
Date first listed:
14-Jun-2017
Statutory Address:
Harrogate War Memorial, Prospect Square, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 1PE

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Harrogate War Memorial, Prospect Square, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 1PE

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

County:
North Yorkshire
District:
Harrogate (District Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SE3013355280

Summary

First World War memorial by Gilbert Ledward and Ernest Prestwich. Erected in 1923 with the names of the Fallen of the Second World War added after 1945.

Reasons for Designation

Harrogate War Memorial, erected in 1923 to a design by Ernest Prestwich and with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Architectural interest: as a finely constructed and imposing white Portland stone obelisk 20m tall, with well-crafted relief sculpture to the base of the obelisk and plinth;

* Sculptural interest: for the high-quality stone relief sculptures by Gilbert Ledward, a leading sculptor and President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors;

* Rarity: for the inclusion of women in the Roll of Honour, and for the emphasis placed on the names of women within the list of names;

* Design: for a narrative structure to the sculpture, with the 1914 Call to Arms on one face, and Britannia appearing as Peace in 1918 on the other;

* Group value: with the Grade II-listed 1-12 Cambridge Crescent, 1-10 Prospect Crescent and 1-5 Parliament Street.

History

The aftermath of the First World War saw an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, 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.

Harrogate War Memorial was designed by Ernest Prestwich, of J C Prestwich and Sons Ltd in 1922, and was erected in a former hotel garden, purchased for the memorial. The memorial was initially designed to include sculptured panels with the dates 1914 and 1918, and illustrate the call to arms as well as the figure of Britannia draped with the flag and holding out a laurel wreath.

The sculpture on the monument was created by Gilbert Ledward, and differed slightly from the proposed sculpture, as the female figure represents Peace, rather than Britannia.

Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960), the son of the sculptor Richard Arthur Ledward, was born in Chelsea. He studied under Édouard Lantéri at the Royal College of Art and subsequently at the Royal Academy Schools, achieving in 1913 the double honour of the travelling studentship and gold medal, and the first Rome scholarship in sculpture. He served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First World War and was appointed as an official war artist in 1918. Ledward was Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1927-9 and president of the Royal Society of British Sculptors 1954-6. Ledward adhered to representational sculpture grounded in realism and his reputation was first formed by his work on war memorials which include the Guards’ Memorial in London, Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery and Blackpool War Memorial on which, as at Harrogate, he collaborated with the architect and planner Ernest Prestwich. Prestwich (1889-1977) studied at Liverpool School of Architecture and Department of Civic Design where he won a competition for the completion of Port Sunlight Village in 1910. He went on to design a number of civic buildings and several war memorials.

The projected cost of the memorial and site was £10,000, but this had risen to £12,000 by the time of its completion. The foundation stone was laid on 2 June 1922, by the Hon Edward Wood MP (later Viceroy of India and the Earl of Halifax), in a ceremony reported to have been witnessed by 10,000 spectators.

The memorial was unveiled on 1 September 1923 by Lord Harewood, at a ceremony attended by Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles, in front of a crowd of 8-9,000 spectators. The memorial was dedicated by Thomas Strong, Bishop of Ripon.

The monument was constructed by Messrs William Irwin and Company.

The bollards surrounding the monument are contemporary with its installation, but were moved when the area surrounding the memorial was landscaped in the 1970s.

Details

First World War memorial. Erected in 1923 with the names of the Fallen of the Second World War added after 1945.

MATERIALS: Portland stone, with bronze Roll of Honour.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial comprises a tall Portland stone obelisk on a square plinth, standing on a shallow platform. The platform has stepped entrances on the east and west sides, and the entire monument is surrounded by ten bollards linked by lengths of chain.

The obelisk has a laurel wreath carved in relief at the top of each face. At the bottom, the north and south faces of the obelisk have the coat of arms of Harrogate carved in relief, while the east and west faces are carved with a longsword (point downwards).

The plinth bears a number of bronze plaques on the east and west faces, which bear the Roll of Honour. The north and south faces of the plinth form a basic chronology of the war – the north face depicts a soldier standing in front of an Ordnance QF 18 pounder field gun, apparently on the parapet of a trench. The soldier is in a dynamic pose, helmetless, and holding a large flag and looking backwards, about to blow a bugle. Numerous bayonets are depicted upright at his feet, apparently troops about to emerge from a trench for an attack. This sculpture depicts the call to arms.

The south face depicts a woman (Peace or Britannia) standing with her arms outstretched, holding a longsword (point downwards) and a laurel wreath. Her robes are reminiscent of a flag draped across her shoulders. At her feet, the helmeted heads of a number of soldiers are visible, holding rifles with fixed bayonets. A serpent impaled by a bayonet curls around her feet, representing the defeated enemy, and a dove of peace flies over the heads of the soldiers. The soldiers’ heads are bowed in mourning, but one rifle is held aloft in victory.

The east face of the monument is inscribed OUR / GLORIOUS DEAD / 1914 – 1918 / 1939 – 1945 / PRO PATRIA / 1914 – 1918 / (NAMES). The west face is inscribed PRO PATRIA / 1914 – 1918 / (NAMES) / 1939 – 1945 / (NAMES). The lists include the names of a number of women, including those of a nurse, a Women’s Land Army volunteer, a YMCA volunteer, a Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps volunteer and a munitions worker. The Second World War names include several Auxiliary Territorial Service workers.

A small plaque below the sculpture of Peace on the south face is inscribed TO ALL MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE GIVEN / THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY / IN VARIOUS HOSTILITIES SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR / WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

Two small plaques between the bollards on the south side of the monument are inscribed HARROGATE BORN RECIPIENTS / THIS PLAQUE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN / WHOSE SERVICE TO THEIR COUNTRY / EARNED THEM THE HIGHEST MILITARY HONOUR / THE VICTORIA CROSS / REMEMBER / (NAMES).

Sources

Books and journals
Archer, G, The Glorious Dead: Figurative Sculpture of British First World War Memorials, (2009), 196-197
Moriarty, C, The Sculpture of Gilbert Ledward, (2003), 42-43
'Harrogate's Striking Memorial' in Yorkshire Post, , Vol. 23378, (3 June 1922 ), 13
'Harrogate's Pillar of Remembrance' in Yorkshire Post, , Vol. 23766, (3 September 1923), 9-10
'Harrogate War Memorial' in Leeds Mercury, , Vol. 26158, (3 September 1923), 7, 16
'Harrogate War Memorial' in Yorkshire Evening Post, , Vol. 9890, (2 June 1922), 8
Websites
Catherine Moriarty, ‘Ledward, Gilbert (1888–1960)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 , accessed 7 April 2017 from http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/34463
Photographic record of the memorial and its Roll of Honour, accessed 7 April 2017 from http://www.yorkshireindexers.info/wiki/index.php?title=Harrogate_Cenotaph
War Memorials Online, accessed 25 April 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/94496
War Memorials Register, accessed 25 April 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/29804

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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