Merstham War Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1458444

Date first listed: 09-Oct-2018

Location Description: Junction with London Road

Statutory Address: War Memorial, School Hill, Merstham, Surrey , RH1 3EG

Map

Ordnance survey map of Merstham War Memorial
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Location

Statutory Address: War Memorial, School Hill, Merstham, Surrey , RH1 3EG

Location Description: Junction with London Road

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

County: Surrey

District: Reigate and Banstead (District Authority)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ2902753193

Summary

First World War memorial cross with Second World War inscriptions.

Reasons for Designation

Merstham War Memorial 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 sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20.

Architectural interest:

* as a well composed Celtic cross memorial, which is stylistically redolent of its inter-war date.

History

The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Prior to then memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, which was the first major war following reforms to the British Army which led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, 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.

Merstham War Memorial was unveiled on 30 October 1921 to commemorate the 90 local men who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of the 35 local men who fell in that conflict were added to the east face of the plinth. The paved platform which the memorial stands on is a later addition, the monument having originally been set upon a grassed verge, bounded by a link-chain fence (as shown in a photograph dated 1924). In 2014 the platform on which the memorial stands was enlarged and modern iron bar railings were added.

Details

Celtic cross memorial, unveiled 1921 to commemorate 90 local men who fell in the First World War, with the names of 35 of the fallen from the Second World War added after 1945.

MATERIALS: granite stone monument with applied metal lettering.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial stands on School Hill on the south side of the junction with London Road. It consists of a rough-hewn Celtic cross with a relief-carved sword to its front, set on a tapered, square-plan plinth and base. The front face of the cross shaft has applied lettering which reads IN MEMORY / OF / THE MEN OF / MERSTHAM / WHO LAID DOWN / THEIR LIVES / FOR / THEIR COUNTRY / IN / THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918. Beneath this, on the front face of the plinth, are the names of 90 of the local men who fell in the war. An additional inscription to the east face of the plinth commemorates the fallen from the Second World War; this is marked with applied lettering which reads TO THE MEMORY OF / THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR / THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR / 3 SEP 1939 – 15 AUG 1945, with the names of 35 of the fallen recorded below.

Sources

Websites
Imperial War Museums, War Memorials Register: Merstham Parish Memorial Cross, accessed 2 July 2018 from https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/23691
Merstham Village Website, War Memorial (Past and Present), accessed 2 July 2018 from http://www.merstham.co.uk/merstham/Pastandpresent/pp16.htm
War Memorials Online: Merstham War Memorial, accessed 2 July 2018 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/157201

End of official listing