War memorial on the former St Aubyns School playing fields

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1468926
Date first listed:
11-Nov-2020
Statutory Address:
Steyning Road, Rottingdean, Brighton, BN2 7GA

Map

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Location

Statutory Address:
Steyning Road, Rottingdean, Brighton, BN2 7GA

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

District:
The City of Brighton and Hove (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Rottingdean
National Grid Reference:
TQ3703202410

Summary

A war memorial situated in the north-west corner of the former St Aubyns School Playing Fields, erected between 1918 and 1926 to commemorate former pupils of the school who lost their lives during the First World War.

Reasons for Designation

The War Memorial on the former St Aubyns School Playing Fields, constructed between 1918 and 1926, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons.

Historic interest: * as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on St Aubyns School and the former pupils who lost their lives in the First World War;

* for its association with Rudyard Kipling and his 1916 poem ‘My Boy Jack’, written following the death of his son, John Kipling, who is commemorated on the memorial.

Architectural interest:

* as a simple but well-executed example of a popular form of First World memorial featuring high-quality materials and craftsmanship.

Group value:

* with the former St Aubyns School (Grade II).

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 the country. The huge impact on communities of the loss of three-quarters of a million British lives, along with the official policy of not repatriating the dead, meant that memorials became the main focus of remembrance.

One such memorial was raised on the St Aubyns School Playing Fields as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by former pupils of the school who lost their lives in the First World War. St Aubyns School (Grade II) was a boys’ preparatory school founded in 1895. It was established in premises on Rottingdean High Street that had originally been built in the early C19 as a private residence, but had served as a school since 1832. St Aubyns remained on the Rottingdean site until the school closed in 2013. A chapel, added to the school in 1912, contains memorial plaques and photographs commemorating former pupils killed in both World Wars, serving as a counterpart to the open air memorial on the playing fields.

One of the names inscribed on the memorial is J Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s son, John. The Kipling family lived in Rottingdean at The Elms (Grade II) between 1897 and 1902. Rudyard Kipling’s 1916 poem ‘My Boy Jack’ is thought to have been partly inspired by John’s disappearance and presumed death at the Battle of Loos in 1915.

The memorial was erected sometime between 1918 and 1926; it appears on a 1926 aerial photograph.

Details

First World War memorial, erected between 1918 and 1926.

MATERIALS AND PLAN: constructed from polished pink granite. It is rectangular on plan and is located in the northwest corner of the former St Aubyns School Playing Fields, adjacent to the sports pavilion.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial consists of a freestanding, granite Calvary cross. A simple, but finely carved, Celtic cross is supported by a tapering shaft with a rectangular section, set on a square, three-tier base, itself standing on an unpolished stone plinth. The top step of the base bears on its front face the following inscription: IN LOVING MEMORY OF/ BRAVE ST AUBYN’S BOYS WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY/ IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the front faces of the steps below.

Sources

None.

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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