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Midland Railway War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Derby, City of Derby

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Latitude: 52.9155 / 52°54'55"N

Longitude: -1.4648 / 1°27'53"W

OS Eastings: 436086

OS Northings: 335478

OS Grid: SK360354

Mapcode National: GBR PNJ.06

Mapcode Global: WHDGT.GZQ8

Entry Name: Midland Railway War Memorial

Listing Date: 24 February 1977

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1228742

English Heritage Legacy ID: 403266

Location: Derby, DE1

County: City of Derby

Electoral Ward/Division: Arboretum

Built-Up Area: Derby

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Derby St Peter and Christ Church with Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Derby

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First World War memorial, 1921, by Sir Edwin Lutyens.


The memorial comprises a c10m tall cenotaph in Portland stone. On top of the cenotaph an Unknown Soldier, partially covered with a greatcoat and with a Brodie helmet and bayonet at his feet, lies on a catafalque mounted on the heads of four lions. Beneath, to either side, is the Midland Railway Company’s coat of arms set within a wreath.

Inscribed on the front of the cenotaph is: TO/ THE BRAVE MEN/ OF/ THE/ MIDLAND/ RAILWAY/ WHO GAVE/ THEIR LIVES/ IN/ THE GREAT WAR. Inscribed on each side of the cenotaph is: MCM/ XIV XIX.

The Cenotaph is flanked by a 2m high wall, set back from the road to form two rectangular alcoves, each 7m wide by 3m deep. Attached to the back wall of these alcoves are bronze plaques inscribed with the names of the 2,833 dead with a small step in front, to allow children to view the names of the fallen close-up. The two outer corners of the memorial are raised square bays, each with a flagpole.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 26/10/2015

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, 25 January 2017.


During the war, 22,941 employees of the Midland Railway Company enlisted, 7,068 were wounded and 2,833 killed. The memorial was built by J Parnell and Son Ltd at a cost of £10,309. It was unveiled on 15 December 1921 by Charles Booth, the company Chairman. The service of dedication was led by the Rt Revd Edwyn Hoskyns, then Bishop of Southwell.

Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.

Reasons for Listing

The Midland Railway cenotaph, Derby, is listed at Grade II* for the following principle reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this company and the sacrifices made by its staff in the First World War;
* Architect: designed by the nationally renowned architect, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944), who designed 58 extant memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall;
* Design: one of eight cenotaphs by Lutyens, each different, and all among his most ambitious memorials;
* Historic interest: a major company war memorial, one of several structures attesting that Derby was the headquarters of the Midland Railway.

Selected Sources

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