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Birchington and Acol War Memorial and memorial enclosure

A Grade II Listed Building in Birchington, Kent

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3737 / 51°22'25"N

Longitude: 1.3068 / 1°18'24"E

OS Eastings: 630239

OS Northings: 169038

OS Grid: TR302690

Mapcode National: GBR WZW.TF4

Mapcode Global: VHLG5.LQPS

Entry Name: Birchington and Acol War Memorial and memorial enclosure

Location: Birchington, Thanet, Kent, CT7

County: Kent

District: Thanet

Parish: Birchington

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Listing Date: 21 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1441732

Summary

First World War memorial, 1920, with later additions for the Second World War.

Description

The memorial stands behind the churchyard wall, in front of the Church of All Saints (Grade II*). It takes the form of a tall granite cross that rises from a pyramidal foot. The foot has shouldered panels to front and rear and stands on a pedestal with inscriptions to each face. The pedestal stands on an octagonal three-stepped base of a different stone type. The cross edges are decorated with bead and reel ornament, and the centre of the cross head features a carved rose to the front face, with a fleur-de-lys to the rear.

The principal dedicatory inscription is recorded to the foot of the cross on the front face, reading: 1914 - 1919/ TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN/ HALLOWED MEMORY/ OF THE MEN FROM/ BIRCHINGTON AND ACOL/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. An inscription to the rear of the cross foot, facing the church, reads THE POPULATION OF/ BIRCHINGTON/ AND ACOL/ AUG. 1914 WAS 2622/ 474 MEN JOINED H.M. FORCES OF/ WHOM 69 GAVE THEIR LIVES.

Three sides of the pedestal list the names of the casualties, together with their rank and regiment, unit, or ship, beginning with officers. The fourth side, facing west to the church, carries the inscription: THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE./ HAIL AND FAREWELL:/ ALL HONOUR GIVE/ TO THOSE WHO, NOBLY/ STRIVING, NOBLY FELL/ THAT WE MIGHT LIVE./ OXENHAM, followed by, WELL DONE FOR THEM/ AND FAIR ISLE, WELL/ FOR THEE/ WHILE THAT THY BOSOM/ BEARETH SONS LIKE THOSE/ THE LITTLE GEM/ SET IN THE SILVER SEA/ SHALL NEVER FEAR HER FOES./ ARNOLD.

An inscription running around the front of the upper step of the base records information about the subscriptions to the memorial fund. The whole stands within an enclosure at the eastern angle of the churchyard, walled in flint and brick with railings to the front and gates to either side, and to the rear with brick walls and a central gate.

The stone plaque on the rear wall to the left reads: 1939-1945/ TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN HALLOWED MEMORY/ OF THE MEN FROM BIRCHINGTON AND ACOL/ WHO FELL IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ (17 NAMES) whilst that to the right reads ALSO/ (16 NAMES)/ THESE TABLETS WERE ERECTED BY/ THE MAYOR AND BURGESSES/ OF THE BOROUGH OF MARGATE/ NOVEMBER 1952.


This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 3 March 2017.

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. 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: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Birchington-on-Sea 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 cross was unveiled on 28 March 1920 by the colonial administrator and cricketer Lord Harris (1851-1932). It commemorated 67 local servicemen who died in the First World War, with two further names added later to take the number to 69. The Second World War inscription panels were unveiled on 9 November 1952, when the brick enclosure to the rear of the memorial cross had been constructed. 33 names are commemorated on these panels, unveiled by the Mayor of Margate, Councillor Mrs Beatrice Giles.

The memorial was conserved with the support of War Memorials Trust in 2009.

Reasons for Listing

Birchington and Acol War Memorial, which stands in an enclosure in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church on The Square, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a well-proportioned and delicately ornamented memorial cross;
* Group value: with the Church of All Saints (Grade II*).

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