Brunner Mond Middlewich War Memorial
Heritage Category: Listed Building
List Entry Number: 1454849
Date first listed: 27-Apr-2018
Statutory Address: Brooks Lane, Middlewich, CW100JG
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Statutory Address: Brooks Lane, Middlewich, CW100JG
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SJ7074765831
A First World War memorial of 1921 with Second World War additions, by Darcy Braddell for Brunner Mond.
Reasons for Designation
The Brunner Mond Middlewich War Memorial, a First World War memorial of 1921 with Second World War additions, 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.
* for its good design by the notable architect Darcy Braddell, in the form of a tapered obelisk set within its own memorial garden with low wall and paving, using good quality materials and classical detailing.
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.
In order to preserve the memory of those who had given their lives for their country, the directors of Brunner, Mond & Co (Brunner Mond), commissioned Darcy Braddell to design memorials for each of their works and offices, inscribed with the names of the Fallen from that site. The names on each of these site-specific memorials were also included on the memorial at the company’s main works at Winnington (northwich, Cheshire). A photo taken around 1921 shows the Middlewich memorial at the time of the unveiling, which was led by Roscoe Brunner, the son of John Brunner, one of the company’s founders. It was originally enclosed by iron railings in front of the low wall. At the entrance to the memorial garden were two stone square pillars approximately three feet high, surmounted by glazed lanterns and supporting metal gates.
It is not known when the railings, gates and pillars were removed. After the Second World War, the additional inscription and names of the two Fallen were added to the face of the obelisk. The bronze elements of the memorial have been painted with metallic paint. Ground level has been raised so that the wall, which was originally approximately a foot high, now only rises about six inches.
Brunner Mond was founded as a private partnership in 1873 and became a public company in 1881. The company made soda ash for the cotton industry, by the new (Solvay) ammonia-soda process, which they introduced to this country. During the First World War the firm manufactured half of the high explosives used by Britain on every front, at lower profit than was offered by the Government. 2,688 of their employees served in the war, and 291 perished. This included sixteen men and two women who were killed in a huge TNT explosion at the Silvertown works in London in 1917. In 1926 Brunner Mond merged with three other British chemical companies to form Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), an organisation that grew to become one of the world's largest and most successful companies. The Brunner Mond name lives on as a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals Ltd.
Thomas Arthur Darcy Braddell (1884-1970) was articled to Sir Ernest George, who also tutored Sir Edwin Lutyens. He had an extensive Arts and Crafts domestic practice in partnership with Humphry Deane, as Deane & Braddell. He was admitted ARIBA in 1920 under the war exemption scheme, and elected Fellow in 1922. He wrote 'How to Look at Buildings' in 1932. He designed the Mond family mausoleum (National Heritage List for England (NHLE) entry 1359069) in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery, as well as the War Memorials at Brunner Mond’s works at Winnington (NHLE 1432698), Silvertown (NHLE 1387182), Sandbach and Lostock Gralam (Northwich). He also designed Blacko War Memorial.
First World War memorial of 1921 with Second World War additions, by Darcy Braddell for Brunner Mond.
MATERIALS: Portland stone, bronze.
PLAN: a rectangular base with short approach path and low boundary wall along the front of the enclosure.
DESCRIPTION: standing in a gravelled memorial garden at the back of the pavement adjacent to a former sports club, now a community church, and facing south.
The memorial comprises an obelisk 8 feet high standing on a wide, rectangular two-stepped base, with a flagged path from the back of the pavement, where there is a low wall with convex top.
The obelisk tapers on all four sides and has three carved channels near the base and a broad cornice near the top. The four corners are indented, with pendant bronze garlands in the angles below the cornice. The channels and cornice continue around the obelisk and the inset angles continue above the cornice at the front, but not the rear. A bronze laurel wreath is fixed to the front face above the cornice. Below the cornice is the incised inscription, with partial black infilling:
TO THE GLORIOUS MEMORY/ OF THE MEN FROM THESE/ WORKS WHO FELL IN THE/ GREAT WAR 1914 TO 1919
Below this are the names of the sixteen Fallen, in alphabetical order by surname, followed by their unit but with no ranks. The names are in capital letters, units in lower case or initials, and the inscription is continuous rather than tabulated. The lettering is fluid and expressive. Below the three channels is the added inscription, in the same lettering:
WORLD WAR 1939 TO 1945
followed by the two names of the Fallen of that war.
Books and journals
Watts, JI, The First Fifty Years Of Brunner, Mond & Co, (1923), 63-67
Dictionary of Scottish Architects entry for Thomas Arthur Darcy Braddell, accessed 29/01/18 from http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=100234
Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History entry for Brunner, Mond and Co, accessed 29/01/18 from http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Brunner,_Mond_and_Co
Imperial War Museums database entry, accessed 19/02/18 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/42850
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
The listed building is shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.
End of official listing