Mitcham War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1448269
Date first listed:
26-Jul-2017
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
Lower Green, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 3UD

Map

Ordnance survey map of Mitcham War Memorial
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

Statutory Address:
Lower Green, Mitcham, Surrey, CR4 3UD

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

Location Description:
County:
Greater London Authority
District:
Merton (London Borough)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ2747068595

Summary

First World War memorial, unveiled on 21 November 1920, with Second World War additions

Reasons for Designation

Mitcham War Memorial, which is situated on Lower Green, 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: * An elegant wheel-head cross memorial with well-executed carved details and sculpted bronze swords;

Group value: * For its relationship with the Grade II-listed Mitcham Parish Rooms.

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. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also 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 Mitcham as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the 588 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

Proposals for a war memorial in Mitcham commenced in early 1919 with the parish churchyard chosen as the original location. However, this proved an unpopular choice and a temporary memorial was erected on a different site, the Lower Green, for Peace Day on 19 July 1919. Subsequently, it was determined by the War Memorial Committee that a permanent memorial should be erected on the Green and the local community were asked to submit the details of those who died in the First World War; 552 names were originally received. The memorial was unveiled on 21 November 1920, by Major General Sir Herbert Edward Watts at a ceremony attended by 5,000 people.

The memorial was restored in 1962 and an additional panel added with a dedication to those who died during the Second World War.

The current set of railings surrounding the memorial was probably erected around 1950.

Details

First World War memorial, erected in 1920, with Second World War additions.

MATERIALS: Portland stone, bronze.

DETAILS: Mitcham War Memorial is situated on Lower Green opposite the Grade II-listed Mitcham Parish Rooms.

The memorial is of Portland stone and takes the form of a wheel-head Latin cross with a tapering, four-sided shaft. The cross shaft terminates in a square foot of classical design with a Greek key pattern carved into two sides atop a narrow square block. The cross rises from a square plinth with a decorated band to the top, surmounted by a cavetto with cornice. Rectangular panels project from the cavetto to all four sides. The vertical edges of the plinth are chamfered with inverted bronze swords affixed; each sword hilt has six studs down the centre and the pommel is a sculpted St Edward’s crown. The plinth has a three-stage moulded foot and stands on a five-stepped, octagonal base.

All four sides of the plinth carry the names of the 588 members of the local community who died during the First World War. The principal inscription is to the south face of the plinth, beneath the decorated band and reads: TO THE MEN OF MITCHAM/ WHO FALLING, CONQUERED/ IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919. Directly above on the panel in the cavetto is the dedication: THEIR NAME LIVETH/ FOR EVERMORE. All lettering is incised.

Resting against the plinth foot is a stone panel, added in 1962, with the Second World War inscription in raised lettering: AND/ TO THE MEMORY/ OF THE MEN, WOMEN/ AND CHILDREN OF MITCHAM/ WHO LOST THEIR LIVES/ IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939 – 1945. Directly below, on the uppermost step of the base, is a further panel (added later) with a final dedication: AND THOSE KILLED/ IN OTHER CONFLICTS.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: The memorial is enclosed by metal railings*.

* 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 architectural or historic interest.

Sources

Websites
Mitcham History Notes, accessed 02 June 2017 from https://mitchamhistorynotes.wordpress.com/buildings/listed-buildings/locally-listed-buildings/war-memorial/
War Memorials Online, accessed 2 June 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/134315
War Memorials Register, accessed 2 June 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/12194
Other
‘Letter to the Editor [re: location of memorial]’, Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, (9 May 1919)
‘Letter to the Editor [re: names received]’, Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, (21 November 1919)
‘Unveiling of Mitcham’s War Memorial’, Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, (26 November 1920)
‘War Memorial Committee Decision’, Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, (7 November 1919)
Mitcham News and Mercury (12 October 1962)

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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