Warrington Cenotaph

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1449249
Date first listed:
15-Aug-2017
Statutory Address:
Junction of Knutsford Road and Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington, Cheshire

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Junction of Knutsford Road and Wilderspool Causeway, Warrington, Cheshire

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

District:
Warrington (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ6082587815

Summary

First World War memorial, unveiled November 1925 to the designs of borough surveyor Andrew Kerr, with additions for later conflicts.

Reasons for Designation

Warrington Cenotaph, which is situated at the junction of Wilderspool Causeway and Knutsford Road, 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 war memorial ensemble featuring a well-executed central obelisk framed by the screen wall with bronze dedicatory plaques.

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 Warrington as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

A temporary war memorial was erected in Warrington for the Peace Day Celebrations in August 1919. Warrington Borough Council subsequently set up a war memorial committee in 1921 with the purpose of erecting a more permanent memorial; however, disagreements over the location of the memorial and a financial crisis meant a decision was delayed until May 1924 when plans were finally approved. The memorial was to the designs of the borough surveyor Andrew Kerr and consisted of an obelisk within an area of hard landscaping. It was unveiled in November 1925.

A screen wall was erected to the rear of the obelisk at a later date carrying bronze plaques with the names of the 1,161 local servicemen who died during the First World War. A further dedication was added commemorating the 435 local servicemen and 22 civilians who died during the Second World War.

Details of those who died in later conflicts have also been added over subsequent years.

Details

First World War memorial, 1925, with additions for later conflicts.

MATERIALS: stone, bronze.

DESCRIPTION: Warrington Cenotaph is located at the junction of Wilderspool Causeway and Knutsford Road, with the river Mersey forming the northern boundary of the site.

It takes the form of a tall, stone obelisk rising from a cruciform-shaped plinth on a single-step base. Affixed to the front (south-west) face of the obelisk is an inverted bronze sword of sacrifice, which is situated below a decorative band with carved fan detail. The obelisk has a moulded foot and a band carved with Greek key motif to the base. The plinth has a moulded cap and foot with a carved, decorative band near the top with acanthus motifs to the corners. Inset to the front (south-west) face is a fielded panel with the inscription carved in relief, reading TO OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD. The whole is set upon a raised stone platform.

To the rear of the obelisk is a curved, stone screen wall with flat stone copings and square corner piers: the central section is taller with the flanking sections stepping down in height. Affixed to the walls are bronze plaques with the names of the fallen and dedicatory inscriptions in raised lettering. Each plaque has a decorative frame and carries the inscription within a fielded panel. The central plaque reads: THIS TABLET ENSHRINES THE HONOURED NAMES OF WARRINGTON MEN/ WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE FOR THEIR COUNTRY 1914-1918. The names of the 1,161 who died are listed in columns beneath. Flanking the central plaque are two smaller, bronze plaques with the inscription to each reading: TO THE HONOURED MEMORY OF THOSE OF WARRINGTON WHO/ LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939 – 1945. The names of the 435 local servicemen who died are listed in columns underneath. The right hand plaque also carries the 22 names of the civilian casualties.

The screen wall terminates at each end in square piers with inset panels to the exposed faces. The end piers have stepped stone caps, with moulded cornices. The westernmost pier has a bronze plaque to the inset panel of the east face dedicated to The Burma Star Association and those who fell in the Far East conflict during the Second World War. The corresponding pier to the east has a similar bronze plaque to its west face dedicated to those who have died in other conflicts.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the obelisk is set within an area of hard landscaping on a raised platform bounded by the screen wall to the north-east. The south-west boundary to the platform is a low, stone retaining wall with flat stone coping and square end piers. A central flight of steps lead up to the memorial, with two further flights of steps to either side against the screen wall. A flag pole* is situated to the south-east corner within a curve of the retaining wall.

* Pursuant to s1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that this aforementioned feature is not of special architectural or historic interest.

Sources

Books and journals
Hayes, J, Warrington in 50 Buildings , (2016)
Hayes, J, Warrington and the Great War, (2015)
Websites
War Memorials Online, accessed 21 July 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/135815
War Memorials Register, accessed 21 July 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/18154

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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