History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in West Kirby, Wirral

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 53.3754 / 53°22'31"N

Longitude: -3.1754 / 3°10'31"W

OS Eastings: 321900

OS Northings: 387143

OS Grid: SJ219871

Mapcode National: GBR 6Y8D.BR

Mapcode Global: WH766.6F57

Entry Name: Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial

Listing Date: 24 March 2011

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1116883

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508917

Location: Wirral, CH48

County: Wirral

Electoral Ward/Division: West Kirby and Thurstaston

Built-Up Area: West Kirby

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: West Kirby St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Find accommodation in

Listing Text




WWI War Memorial, 1919-1922, by Hall & Glover and Charles Sargeant Jagger. Cornish granite and natural red sandstone platform, inlaid bronze lettering, additional WWII and later conflict inscriptions added later.

LOCATION: set on top of Grange Hill (one of the highest points in the Wirral) with views to the surrounding areas, Liverpool Bay, Liverpool and Wales.

EXTERIOR: Colossal four-sided, shouldered obelisk with curved top, set upon a stepped granite base and massive T-shaped pedestal. Front (west) face of obelisk: Larger than life-size bronze figure of a robed woman representing 'Humanity' standing on top of a globe, set upon a squat, cross-shaped granite plinth and square pedestal inscribed with the dates '1914 - 1919'. Hanging from her wrists are broken chains and she is holding a wreath of twigs and poppies. Her head rests against a pillow of lilies and above her chest is a small oval form (mandorla) containing a baby, which looks down at the viewer through the wreath. Obelisk's curved shoulders flanking the lower half of the figure are inscribed with the names of those killed during WWI. Further inscribed names to north and south faces of obelisk. Granite plaque to centre of pedestal below 'Humanity' with inscription reading 'AT THE CALL OF KING AND COUNTRY THEY LEFT ALL/THAT WAS DEAR TO THEM, ENDURED HARDNESS, FACED DANGER,/AND FINALLY PASSED OUT OF THE SIGHT OF MEN BY THE/PATH OF DUTY AND SELF SACRIFICE, GIVING UP THEIR/OWN LIVES THAT OTHERS MIGHT LIVE IN FREEDOM/LET THOSE WHO COME AFTER SEE TO IT/THAT THEIR NAMES BE NOT FORGOTTEN'. Small plaque beneath records the dates '1939 - 1945'. Larger plaques to flanking pedestal arms inscribed with names of those killed during WWII. Further plaque to rear (east) face of southern pedestal arm inscribed with names of those killed in conflicts since WWII, blank plaque to rear (east) face of north pedestal arm. Rear (east) face of obelisk: Larger than life-size bronze figure of a soldier ('Soldier on Defence') representing redemption and sacrifice, standing legs astride and dressed in full battle attire, including a gas mask, putties, water bottle and with his helmet pushed back off his head. He is carrying a rifle horizontally across his waist and at his feet is a German helmet lying in mud. The bayonet from the soldier's rifle is kept in storage but is returned for Armistice Day memorial services and is an integral part of the composition. Base of obelisk is stepped to eastern side, inscription below 'Soldier on Defence' reads 'IN GRATITUDE TO GOD AND/ TO THE MEN AND WOMEN FROM/THESE PARTS WHO LAID DOWN/THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR/1914 - 1919 - 1939 - 1945/THEY WERE A WALL UNTO US/BOTH BY NIGHT AND DAY'. Last two sentences of Rudyard Kipling's poem, 'For All We Have And Are' are carved into obelisk faces above the figures. Starting on east face of obelisk in anti-clockwise direction inscription with sunken background reads 'WHO STANDS IF/FREEDOM FALL/WHO DIES IF/ENGLAND LIVE'. Entire memorial is set upon a natural red sandstone platform and is enclosed by black railings. Stair flight carved into natural bedrock to north-west corner, small paved platform enclosed by black railings to west side from which the Bishop leads memorial services. Memorial garden comprising of a large grassed area with planted shrubs and bushes lies to west side below memorial.

HISTORY: Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial was erected in 1922 to the designs of Messrs Hall & Glover, architects, and the renowned War Memorial sculptor, Charles Sargeant Jagger, who began working on the commission in 1919. The memorial was produced at the foundry of Messrs A.B. Burton and cost approximately £7,500. Jagger was recommended to the Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial committee by the sculptor, Sir George Frampton, and it was his first monument after previously designing two massive bronze reliefs entitled 'The First Battle of Ypres (1918-1919, now in the Imperial War Museum) and 'No Man's Land' (1919-1923, presented to the Tate in 1923).

The 'Soldier on Defence' figure, which forms a key part of the Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1921, and it led to many commissions for Jagger around the world, including the Grade II* listed Royal Artillery Memorial, which was erected at Hyde Park Corner, London in 1925. A re-casting of the 'Soldier on Defence' was also subsequently used as part of the 'Driver and Wipers' memorial at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, Australia.

The Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial was unveiled on 16 December 1922, by the Earl of Birkenhead. Thirty-seven names that are not inscribed on the monument are recorded in the parish church.

Compton A, 2004, 'Jagger, Charles Sargeant (1885-1934)', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Available on HTTP: http:www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/34146, accessed 25 October 2010
Pevsner N & Hubbard E, The Buildings of England: Cheshire, (2003) 380
Shrine of Remembrance Education Program, Background Information, Page 15, Available on HTTP: http://www.shrine.org.au/files/documents/background-information.pdf accessed 25 October 2010

Hoylake & West Kirby War Memorial, erected in 1922 to the designs of the architects, Hall & Glover and the sculptor, Charles Sargeant Jagger, is designated at grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Artist: it was designed by the internationally renowned War Memorial sculptor, Charles Sargeant Jagger and represents his first monument commission where he established his approach to figuration used on his subsequent memorials, including the Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner, London
* Design quality: it is a powerful monument with a superior level of design and craftsmanship incorporating a colossal shouldered obelisk with a pairing of realist and symbolic larger than life-size bronze figures, 'Humanity' and 'Soldier on Defence', representing redemption, sacrifice and heroicism
* Artistic interest: both figures have significant artistic interest; 'Soldier on Defence', in particular, is a rugged and masculine figure in the pose of a human shield that contrasts sharply with the romantic and idealistic portrayals of other sculptors of the period, and references the manual workers and working-class ('worker-soldiers') that Jagger believed were fundamental to Britain's success in WWI
* Historic & commemorative interest: it has strong cultural and historic significance within a local and national context, and forms a poignant reminder of the effects of tragic world events on this local community
* Setting: its dramatic setting at the top of Grange Hill, with views out to Liverpool Bay, Liverpool, Wales and the surrounding areas, provides an impressive sense of monumentality and acts as a fitting tribute to those commemorated

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, 27 January 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.