Northampton Borough War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Garden of Remembrance, Abington Square, between Kettering Road and Wellingborough Road, Northampton, NN1 4AH


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Statutory Address:
Garden of Remembrance, Abington Square, between Kettering Road and Wellingborough Road, Northampton, NN1 4AH

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

Northampton (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial by Sir John Brown, of Brown and Henson Ltd. Erected in 1936. Names of the Fallen in later wars added after 1945.

Reasons for Designation

Northampton Borough War Memorial, erected in 1936 by Brown and Henson Ltd, 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 curving wall, with colonnaded walkway containing the Roll of Honour and two benches, by architects Brown and Henson Ltd;

* Group value: With the Grade II listed statue of Charles Bradlaugh.


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.

One such memorial was raised at Abington Gardens, Northampton, as permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

While Northampton already had a war memorial (the Grade I listed Town and County War Memorial, by Edwin Lutyens), the British Legion were unhappy that the town did not have a permanent Roll of Honour. The idea of a cloister garden as a site for the Roll of Honour was suggested by Mr R Grainger, of St James’ and Dallington Section, the British Legion, in April 1935, inspired by a visit to the cloister garden at Farthingstone (Northants). Originally this was to be placed near the existing war memorial, but the funds to purchase the Abington Square site (site of the original temporary cenotaph) became available in July 1936.

The monument was designed by Sir John Brown (then president of Northampton British Legion), of Brown and Henson, St Giles Street, Northampton. It was constructed by the builders S G Sale & Sons and dedicated on 1 January 1937. The memorial was unveiled by Col (later Maj Gen) John Brown CB CBE DSO TD JP DL. The adjacent Edgar Mobbs Memorial was moved to the site at the same time. Names of the Fallen in the Second World War and the Korean War were added later.


First World War memorial by Sir John Brown, of Brown and Henson. Erected in 1936. Names of the Fallen in later wars added after 1945.

MATERIALS: Brick and tile.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial comprises a large concave brick wall, with a colonnaded walkway along its western face. The colonnade is formed from a flat roofed brick structure, with six moderne tiled columns along the front. The rear wall of the walkway contains the Roll of Honour above two bench seats separated by a grey, altar-like stone. The walkway is closed by a series of iron barred panels, each decorated with three gilt wreaths. The central panel contains a gate, affording access to the walkway, and the inside is lit by five circular light wells, each containing a number of circular glass blocks.

The central panel on the rear wall is inscribed COUNTY BOROUGH OF NORTHAMPTON, above the crest of Northampton, a castle flanked by two lions on a red field with the motto CASTELLO FORTIOR CONCORDIA. Below this, the words HEREON ARE INSCRIBED THE NAMES OF / THE CITIZENS OF THIS BOROUGH / WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES DURING THE / GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918 / THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED DURING / THE CORONATION YEAR OF HIS MAJESTY / KING GEORGE VI / LEST WE FORGET are inscribed. The grey, altar-like stone beneath carries the inscription: THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD AS WE THAT ARE LEFT GROW OLD / AGE SHALL NOT WEARY THEM NOR THE YEARS CONDEMN / AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING / WE WILL REMEMBER THEM / LAURENCE BINYON // THE NORTHAMPTON BRANCH OF THE BRITISH LEGION / AND THEIR FRIENDS BORE THE COST OF THE PANELS / AND OF INSCRIBING THE NAMES THEREON. The names of those who died in the First World War are carried on stone tablets to either side. Panels with the names of those who have fallen in later conflicts have been added.

The memorial sits opposite the Edgar Mobbs war memorial. This was the subject of a separate assessment (National Heritage List 1447457, Grade II*). Both memorials form the eastern edge of a triangular public garden.


Books and journals
'Northampton Roll of Honour' in Northampton Mercury, , Vol. 11220, (26 April 1935), 5
'War Memorial Proposed' in Northampton Mercury, , Vol. 11286, (31 July 1936), 12
Information on the garden from the Parks and Gardens database, accessed 26 May 2017 from
War Memorials Online, accessed 19 September 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 26 May 2017 from


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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