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Chislehurst War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Chislehurst, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4125 / 51°24'44"N

Longitude: 0.0739 / 0°4'26"E

OS Eastings: 544325

OS Northings: 170204

OS Grid: TQ443702

Mapcode National: GBR NP.R9T

Mapcode Global: VHHNY.7RFK

Entry Name: Chislehurst War Memorial

Location: Bromley, London, BR7

County: London

District: Bromley

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Locality: Chislehurst

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Listing Date: 10 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1432780

Summary

First World War memorial designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, unveiled 1920, with later additions.

Description

The memorial stands in a prominent position to the NW side of the junction of Centre Common Road and Bromley Road. The 7.3m tall cross is based on the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Cross of Sacrifice, in Portland stone. The cross surmounts a three-stage octagonal plinth, standing on an octagonal base. There are inscriptions across the three stages of the plinth. A bronze sword is mounted on the front face of the tapering cross shaft.

An inscription wraps round the entire drum of the top stage of the plinth reading, from the front face, IN PROUD/ AND GRATEFUL/ MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF/ CHISLEHURST/ FALLEN IN/ THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1919. Below this, the plinth is incised with the names of the fallen, starting alphabetically on the front face. Initially 186 names were recorded. There are now 189.

A Second World War inscription on the front face of the middle stage of the plinth reads 1939/ 1945. Also on the middle stage a small bronze tablet reads ALSO REMEMBERED/ WITH GRATEFUL APPRECIATION/ THOSE WHO, SINCE THE SECOND WORLD WAR,/ HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES IN CONFLICTS/ AND PEACE-KEEPING MISSIONS/ THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

The 65 Second World War names are recorded on the bottom stage of the plinth. The inscription THEY GAVE US PEACE/ BY THEIR WARFARE/ AND LIFE BY THEIR DEATH is recorded on the front face (this inscription was part of the original, First World War, design). The memorial is bounded by a lawn with flower border and an octagonal stone kerb.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 20 February 2017.

This List entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 21/02/2016

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 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 was raised at Chislehurst as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

The memorial was unveiled on 17 October 1920 by Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Joseph Frederick Edlmann DSO in a ceremony attended by more than 2,000 people. Lieutenant-Colonel Edlmann of Hawkwood, Chislehurst, had been wounded at Loos and Passchendaele, was mentioned in despatches twice, and awarded the DSO during the Somme campaign in 1916. Reverend Canon Dawson, Rector of nearby St Nicholas’ Church, dedicated the memorial “In grateful memory of Thy sons who have given their lives for their country.”

The selected design was the Cross of Sacrifice designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield: he visited Chislehurst and chose the site for the memorial due to his friendship with the Honorary Secretary of the Memorial Committee, Louis Birkett. Birkett’s son Harold, and his daughter Margaret, a Red Cross nurse, both died on war service. The sculptors were Messrs HT Jenkins & Son of Torquay and the bronze sword was supplied by Mr Bainbridge Reynolds. The foundations were put in by Messrs T Rider and Son, of Chislehurst.

The memorial cost £1,068 6s 10d and was paid for by public subscriptions that were added to by the balance from the local Peace celebrations in 1919. There used to be a post and chain enclosure around the memorial but this was replaced by kerbstones. Names have been added to the memorial to commemorate the fallen of the Second World War and to rectify earlier omissions.

Sir Reginald Blomfield (1856-1942) was one of the senior architects commissioned by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission. He designed a number of the First World War cemeteries in France and Belgium, the Menin Gate memorial to the missing, and war memorials in the UK. In 1918 he designed the Cross of Sacrifice, which is erected in cemeteries both overseas and in the UK that have more than 40 military graves. Its design was intended to represent both the Christian faith of the majority of the men being commemorated and the military character of the cemetery. Its design was widely praised and has in consequence been imitated in numerous war memorials at home, such as at Chislehurst.

Reasons for Listing

Chislehurst War Memorial, which stands at the junction of Centre Common Road and Bromley Road, 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;
* Architectural interest: a sensitive use of Sir Reginald Blomfield’s Cross of Sacrifice design, the location for the cross having been selected by the architect;
* Group value: with the Grade II-listed K6 Telephone Kiosk standing on Royal Parade.

Selected Sources

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