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Latitude: 52.5039 / 52°30'14"N
Longitude: -2.0166 / 2°0'59"W
OS Eastings: 398971
OS Northings: 289559
OS Grid: SO989895
Mapcode National: GBR 550.K9
Mapcode Global: VH9YV.0B8B
Entry Name: Oldbury Cenotaph
Location: Sandwell, B69
Parish: Non Civil Parish
Traditional County: Worcestershire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands
Listing Date: 21 February 2017
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1442288
First World War memorial, unveiled 1926, with later additions for the Second World War.
The memorial is a tall cenotaph in Cornish granite, standing on a paved area in front of the former Town Hall (not listed) and opposite 2, Halesowen Street (Grade II). The pylon rises from a five-stepped base, rectangular on plan, and at the top dies back to the foot of the empty tomb. The tomb is in the form of a tapered Classical chest, ornamented with hemispherical bosses.
The east face of the cenotaph bears an inscription in applied bronze letters reading: IN MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF/ OLDBURY/ WHO FELL IN THE/ GREAT WARS/ 1914-1918/ AND/ 1939-1945/ AND IN/ ALL OTHER/ CONFLICTS. A wreath is carved in low relief to the foot of the pylon. The W face of the cenotaph bears an inscription in applied bronze letters reading: AT THE/ GOING DOWN/ OF THE SUN/ AND IN THE/ MORNING WE WILL/ REMEMBER THEM. with a precisely similar wreath carved below. The northern and southern faces of the cenotaph are decorated with a plain equal-armed cross carved in relief to each side.
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 Oldbury as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. Although no names are recorded on the cenotaph, 284 names are listed in Oldbury’s illuminated Book of Memory.
While a suitable choice for the district’s memorial was being debated, a tank donated by the War Office stood in the Town Square gardens. This had been made at the Oldbury Carriage Works, and had been used for training Tank Corps members in England. The connection with Oldbury was probably a coincidence, as a number of redundant tanks were presented to towns.
The permanent memorial was made by John Dallow and Sons of Uplands Works, Smethwick. It was dedicated on 4 November 1926. The ceremony was attended by General Sir Ian Hamilton, the Archdeacon of Birmingham, local people, and members of 7 Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, the Oldbury Territorials. The memorial stood in the garden in front of the Town Hall. Following the reconstruction of the Market Square in the 1930s the area around the memorial was reconfigured, and has been further altered since that time. Following the Second World War the inscription was amended to mark those who lost their lives in that conflict.
Oldbury Cenotaph, which stands in Town 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 cenotaph in the Classical style, referencing Sir Edwin Lutyens’ Whitehall Cenotaph (1920);
* Group value: with 2, Halesowen Street (Grade II).
Other nearby listed buildings