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Lytham St Anne's War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.7529 / 53°45'10"N

Longitude: -3.0331 / 3°1'59"W

OS Eastings: 331973

OS Northings: 429000

OS Grid: SD319290

Mapcode National: GBR 7T81.4F

Mapcode Global: WH85G.CXWT

Entry Name: Lytham St Anne's War Memorial

Listing Date: 15 February 1993

Last Amended: 14 June 2017

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1196391

English Heritage Legacy ID: 385229

Location: Saint Anne's on the Sea, Fylde, Lancashire, FY8

County: Lancashire

District: Fylde

Civil Parish: Saint Anne's on the Sea

Built-Up Area: Lytham St Anne's

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: St Annes on Sea St Anne (Heyhouses)

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Listing Text


621-1/2/104 War Memorial


First World War memorial. Dated 1923 on sculpture. Sculpture
by W.Marsden.
White granite with bronze reliefs and statuary.
A tall square tapered pillar surmounted by a statue, on a
rectangular stepped plinth with side supporters also bearing
Bronze relief panels wrap round the plinth (interrupted at the
sides by the supporters): the front (to the south) has a large
raised rectangular panel displaying the names of the fallen in
raised lettering, flanked on the left by relief figures of an
airman and a sailor and on the right by 2 soldiers; the left
return depicts a soldier tended by a nurse, and the right-hand
return depicts a soldier with wife and child; and the rear is
filled with figures of soldiers, including stretcher-bearers
carrying a casualty and a line of men blinded by gas.
The supporters have over-life-size statues of seated figures:
to the east, a woman with a baby on her lap, and to the west a
defiant soldier grasping his rifle by the muzzle (the latter
inscribed "1923 W.Marsden").
The top of the pillar is a hemisphere, on which stands the
figure of a woman with arms raised in supplication.
The item is one of the finest examples of its type in

Listing NGR: SD3197329000

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, 2 February 2017.

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


First World War memorial, erected in 1924 by Lord Ashton. Architect is Thomas Smith Tait. Bronze sculptures are by Walter Marsden. Statuary cast at the Morris Art Bronze Foundry, Lambeth.


First World War memorial, erected in 1924 by Lord Ashton.

MATERIALS: bronze sculpture on granite cenotaph.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial stands on a platform at the south-west of Ashton Gardens (laid out 1914-16). It is constructed in white granite with bronze reliefs and statuary and consists of a tall pylon on a stepped pedestal and plinth. The pylon has slightly raised panels to each face and is surmounted by a hemisphere upon which stands a bronze female figure in a classical robe with arms raised.

Projections on the sides of the pedestal support over-life size bronze statues. On the left is an infantryman seated but alert, grasping his rifle by the muzzle (the latter inscribed ‘1923 W.Marsden’), his head turned sideways and left fist clenched. Marsden is said to have stated that the figure was intended to convey the warning "They’re coming again!". On the right side, in contrast, a seated woman who has just been told of her husband’s death gazes ahead, unresponsive to the pleadings of the naked child on her lap.

The front (west) face of the pedestal has a rectangular bronze panel with raised lettering inscribed: 1914 : NAMES OF THE FALLEN : 1918, and has 170 names beneath, flanked on the left by relief figures of an airman and a seaman, and on the right by two infantrymen. The panel wraps around the left and right returns of the pedestal depicting, respectively, a nurse bandaging a soldier’s hand, and a departing soldier embracing his wife, their small daughter tugging her mother’s shawl. The rear face of the pedestal has a bronze panel, also wrapping around the sides, depicting a procession of soldiers returning from the battlefield, including stretcher-bearers, men carrying their wounded comrades, and a line of men blinded by gas. Dress, weaponry and equipment are illustrated in great detail.

The front and rear faces of the pylon have a plaque inscribed: IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO FELL 1939 – 1945, each with 64 names. A further plaque commemorates the dead of later conflicts.


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 Lytham St Anne's, 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 erecting of Lytham St Anne’s War memorial in 1924 was made possible by a gift of £10000, donated by Lord Ashton. The memorial commemorates the fallen of the Municipal Borough of Lytham St Anne’s, formed in 1922 by the merger of Lytham and St Anne’s urban district councils. It was unveiled on 12 October 1924 by Alderman Charles Critchley, whose son Burton ‘Plum’ Critchley was killed in 1918 while serving in the RAF. The ceremony was attended by the Rt Hon Stephen Walsh (Minister for War), Maj Gen Sir Cecil Lothian Nicholson KCB CMG (whose son was killed at Arras), Lt Gen Sir Richard Butler KCB KCMG and 1000 ex-servicemen. The unveiling was also attended by nine children of fallen servicemen, who were later presented with gold medals inscribed with the coat of arms of the borough.

The memorial is notable not only for its figures in the round, but also for the narrative depicted in bronze plaques. The plaques show a succession of scenes, from a soldier leaving his wife and child to the weary return of a group of soldiers. Also of note is that the soldiers are carrying the body of a dead comrade – as with the depiction of women, depictions of the dead are rare on war memorials.

The booklet produced for the veiling ceremony described the mother and child sculpture on the monument as showing “the agony of mind caused to womanhood by the tragedies of war. [The mother] sits in anguish and sorrowful reverie, quite unconscious that her babe is looking to her for a mother’s love. She looks, as it were, into the unknown future, realizing what her sacrifice means, and wondering why”. Similarly the sculpture of the soldier was described as depicting: “The constant nervous strain of continuous trench warfare, brought about the ever-present feeling that danger was lurking near, a state of tension which, in the opinion of the Artist, was the cause of more mental agony than any other phase of the War”. Contemporary newspaper reports describe the memorial as “a monument which arouses deep emotion”, and “a vivid and impressive expression of the sorrows of war time”.

Walter Marsden (1882-1969), the son of a blacksmith, was one of several talented young sculptors who went on to design war memorials after military service in the First World War. Marsden was apprenticed to the Accrington Brick and Tile Company, after which he studied at Accrington Technical School and Manchester Municipal College of Art. In the First World War he served as an officer in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was awarded a Military Cross after the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. He studied at the Royal College of Art from 1919-1920 where Édouard Lantéri was one of his tutors. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1938, and taught at St Martin's School of Art from c1944. Marsden designed a number of war memorials, mainly in Lancashire, including those at Bolton, Heywood and his native village of Church.

The Scottish architect Thomas Smith Tait (1882-1954), who worked in the practice of Sir John Burnet, was a prominent figure in the rise of British modernism. He contributed to buildings such as the Kodak building in London, the Edward VII galleries at the British Museum and St Andrews House in Edinburgh. He designed several war memorials including the Great Western Railway memorial at Paddington (which includes sculpture by Charles Sergeant Jagger).

Reasons for Listing

Lytham St Anne’s War Memorial, designed by Thomas Smith Tait in 1923, with sculpture by Walter Marsden, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Sculptural interest: for high quality and poignant depictions in the round of a shell-shocked soldier and a grieving widow, together with detailed chronological reliefs, by notable sculptor Walter Marsden;

* Rarity: for extremely rare depictions of a shell-shocked soldier, a grieving widow, wounded and gassed soldiers and women both on active service and on the Home Front;

* Architectural interest: a bold white granite pylon by Thomas Smith Tait, with high quality bronze sculpture by Walter Marsden;

* Design interest: for an unusual chronological series of panels in relief around the base of the monument;

* Historic interest: as an eloquent and poignant witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Group value: with the Grade II registered Ashton Gardens.

Selected Sources

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