Silksworth and Tunstall War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Silksworth Park, Blind Lane, Silksworth, Sunderland, SR3 1DZ


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Statutory Address:
Silksworth Park, Blind Lane, Silksworth, Sunderland, SR3 1DZ

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

Sunderland (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


First World War memorial, 1922, by Mr S Fraser of Grangetown, with Second World War and Bosnia additions.

Reasons for Designation

Silksworth and Tunstall War Memorial, erected 1922, by Mr S Fraser of Grangetown, 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 conflicts of the C20; * the memorial is unusual for the inclusion of the nine civilians killed by enemy action in Silksworth; * the inclusion of the names of two sailors killed, during the Milford Haven or Landing Craft Disaster of April 1943.

Architectural interest: * a well-executed and dignified figurative memorial in white marble, employing good quality design, craftsmanship and materials.


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 is situated at Silksworth Miners' Welfare Park, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 151 members of the local community, who lost their lives in the First World War.

The monument designed by local sculptor Mr S Fraser of Grangetown (Redcar and Cleveland), was erected in a central position on Tunstall Village Green. It was unveiled on 25 November 1922 by Major L Andrew Common, at a well-attended memorial service that followed a procession from the Volunteer Drill Hall. Anthems were sung by the Silksworth Male Voice Choir and it was dedicated by Reverend J A Parkin, and the benediction was pronounced by the Wesleyan Minister, W Hardwick. A firing party, under Sergeant T Connor, fired three volleys, which was followed by the sounding of the Last Post. The names of the fallen were recorded on the pedestal and two lines from Alfred Lord Tennyson's 'Ode of the Death of the Duke of Wellington', was inscribed on the top tier of the plinth. After the Second World War, a further 59 names of servicemen killed in that conflict were added to the monument. Unusually, nine civilian names were also added to the plinth, of which, five were female and four were from one family. Two of the sailors listed, were killed in the Milford Haven or Landing Craft Disaster, which occurred on Easter Sunday 25 April 1943. The name of a soldier killed in Bosnia in 1996 has been added to the south-east panel.

The memorial has been a target for vandalism, the first occasion being in 1950, which resulted in it being dismantled and re-erected in its present location in Silksworth Miner's Welfare Park, within an oval enclosure, with an axial path flanked by triangular flower borders. Since then, the bayonet has been damaged on a number of occasions, with the replacement metal bayonet only being secured to the monument during Armistice Week; the butt of the rifle has had to be repaired and the rim of the Brodie helmet has gained a nibbled appearance. In 2016, the enclosure was removed, the paths blended into a rectangular-plan area and the adjacent flower beds were laid to grass.


First World War memorial, 1922, by Mr S Fraser of Grangetown, with Second World War and Bosnia additions.

MATERIALS: white marble figure, granite pedestal and base, and Heworth stone steps.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial comprises a life-size figure of an advancing infantryman, mounted on a pedestal. The carved figure is wearing 1908 pattern infantry equipment, a Brodie helmet, and holding a Lee-Enfield rifle in a raised position. The figure is supported by a carved pile of stones, standing on a square granite pedestal, with a foliate carved architrave, on a two-tier plinth, and is mounted on a two-stepped sandstone base. The south-west (front) panel of the pedestal reads: THIS MEMORIAL/ WAS ERECTED IN LOVING MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF THE SILKSWORTH AND/ TUNSTALL PARISHES WHO MADE THE SUPREME/ SACRIFICE IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918. The 151 NAMES of the fallen from the First World War are inscribed on all four panels of the pedestal. In addition, the name of a soldier killed in Bosnia in 1996 has been added at the base of the south-east panel. The inscription on the chamfered upper-tier of the plinth reads: NOT ONCE BUT TWICE IN OUR ROUGH ISLAND STORY/ THE PATH OF DUTY WAS THE WAY TO GLORY. The south-west panel of the lower-tier reads: ALSO/ IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF/ THOSE OF THESE PARISHES WHO FELL IN THE/ SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939 - 1945. The 59 NAMES of the servicemen killed during the Second World War are inscribed on the south-east, north-east, and north-west sides of the lower tier of the plinth. The inscription on the north-west side also reads: CIVILIANS KILLED BY/ ENEMY ACTION and lists the nine NAMES of the casualties.


Imperial War Museum, War Memorial Register, Silksworth and Tunstall - WW1 & WW2, accessed 27 March 2019 from
North East War Memorials Project - Silksworth, accessed 27 March 2019 from
The Yorkshire Regiment, War Memorials Elsewhere, - Silksworth (Sunderland) , accessed 27 March 2019 from
War Memorials Online, Silksworth and Tunstall, accessed 27 March 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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