Knutsford Centennial War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Statutory Address:
Toft Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0PB


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Statutory Address:
Toft Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 0PB

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

Location Description:
Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


War memorial, topped with a private funerary monument in the form of a bronze statue of 1919 depicting the deceased (Haron Baronian) in field dress, by the sculptor Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, and which was relocated in the 1930s and 1977 and installed on its present war memorial plinth in 2018.

Reasons for Designation

A statue of Haron Baronian, a private funerary monument of 1919 which was moved to its present position in 2018 as part of Knutsford's Centennial War Memorial, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for the good artistic quality of the realistic depiction modelled on the deceased;

* as an unusual example of a memorial to a private soldier, rather than an officer, and at full-size, in the round;

* as a good example of the work of Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, an internationally prominent sculptor with local connections.

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on a local family, emblematic of the community’s sacrifices made in the First World War.


The loss of three quarters of a million British lives during the First World War had a huge impact on communities. The official policy of not repatriating the dead meant that memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. As well as the tens of thousands of public memorials which were erected, private memorials were erected by some families in graveyards or at their homes.

Private Haron John Baronian was killed in action in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) on 11 April 1917, aged 21. He was the son of Zarch and Shushan Baronian. Prior to joining the 8th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, he had joined the Officer Training Corps of Manchester University. Following his death, the Baronian family commissioned William Hamo Thornycroft to create a life-sized sculpture of Haron. Thornycroft was working on an estimate for the memorial as early as 1 November 1917, and on a clay model by May 1918. The contract was sent on 21 December 1918, and the cost was £555. The framework for the statue was begun on 8 February 1919, and casting took place in June. The statue was cast by the Albion Art Foundry Ltd, of London.

The statue was erected in October 1919 at the family home in Brae Cottage (National Heritage List for England (NHLE) entry 1387751, originally built for car-maker Henry Royce). In the 1930s the family moved away, and the statue was relocated to a garden behind the lodge of Booth Hall. In 1977 Haron's sister, his closest surviving relative, donated the statue to the town and approved its installation in front of Knutsford’s war memorial cottage hospital, where it stood on a simple, rough-hewn stone base. In 2018, with the approval of Haron’s nephews, the statue was relocated to its present position atop a new plinth recording all of the town’s war dead, forming the centennial war memorial. The hospital’s rolls of honour are intended to be displayed in the nearby council offices (the former prison governor’s house).

Sir (William) Hamo Thornycroft (1850–1925), was educated at Macclesfield Grammar School and University College School, London and in 1869 he enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1875 he won a Royal Academy gold medal for A Warrior Bearing a Wounded Youth From The Field of Battle (Leighton House, London). Over the next ten years Thornycroft became established as Britain's leading sculptor. His work evolved from cautious Victorian classicism towards a powerful realism, the latter a key component of the emerging New Sculpture movement. He was elected to associate membership of the Royal Academy in 1881 and full membership in 1888, he was knighted in 1917, and in 1924 he was the first recipient of the Royal Society of British Sculptors' (RBS) gold medal. As well as numerous well known pieces in galleries and museums (such as The Mower in Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery), he authored at least nine listed structures, including The Sower (NHLE 1262481), General Gordon (NHLE 1066175) and Oliver Cromwell (NHLE 1226285). His sculptures are also credited in List entries for a further eight buildings, and the entries for two other buildings note that they are former homes of his.

The Albion Art Foundry Ltd was James Martin’s successor business to the companies established by Gaetano Rovini and Alessandro Parlanti from 1884, and operating from the Albion Works in Parson’s Green (Fulham, London) since 1885. One of the earlier companies was called the Albion Art Foundry.


A private memorial statue of 1919, relocated in the 1930s and 1977 and installed on its present war memorial plinth in 2018, and designed and sculpted by Sir William Hamo Thornycroft and cast by the Albion Art Foundry Ltd.

MATERIALS: bronze statue, black granite plinth.

DESCRIPTION: the figure is life-size at 1.72m tall. It depicts Haron Baronian in service dress advancing with his rifle slung over his right shoulder, surveying the landscape and with his left hand raised to shade his eyes. The front face of the bronze base is inscribed PRO PATRIA. The left face is inscribed HARON BARONIAN/ KILLED IN ACTION/ IN MESOPOTAMIA/ 1917. The right face is signed HAMO THORNYCROFT RA/ SC 1918. The rear face is inscribed ALBION ART FOUNDRY LTD/ PARSONS GREEN/ SW.

The sculpture stands on a black granite plinth with two-stepped base, dating from 2018 and carrying war memorial inscriptions.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 08/10/2019


Books and journals
Morris, Edward (author), Roberts, Emma (author), Public Sculpture of Cheshire and Merseyside (excluding Liverpool), (2012), 125-126
Cheshire Roll of Honour: More than a name; Haron Baronian, accessed 07/10/2019 from
Commonwealth War Graves Commission death records for soldiers commemorated on the Basra Memorial, accessed 04 February 2019 from,-haron/
Information on Haron Baron’s education and training on Manchester University Roll of Honour, accessed 07/10/2019 from
Information on Haron Baronian and his family from the Centre for Armenian Information and Advice website, accessed 07/10/2019 from
Information on the history of the foundry included in the National Portrait Gallery website in an entry for Alessandro Parlanti, accessed 04 February 2019 from
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, accessed 04 February 2019 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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