History in Structure

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

Merchant Navy War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Central, Liverpool

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4035 / 53°24'12"N

Longitude: -2.9966 / 2°59'47"W

OS Eastings: 333835

OS Northings: 390091

OS Grid: SJ338900

Mapcode National: GBR 71P.SY

Mapcode Global: WH876.YQ66

Plus Code: 9C5VC233+98

Entry Name: Merchant Navy War Memorial

Listing Date: 5 March 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393706

English Heritage Legacy ID: 504858

Location: Liverpool, L3

County: Liverpool

Electoral Ward/Division: Central

Built-Up Area: Liverpool

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Liverpool Our Lady and St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

Find accommodation in
Liverpool

Description


392/0/10342 GEORGES PIER HEAD
05-MAR-10 Merchant Navy War Memorial

II
World War II War Memorial. 1952. Architects, Stanley, Harold Smith and Charles Frederick Blythin of London. Sculptor, H Tyson Smith of Liverpool. Reinforced concrete faced with Portland stone, glass lenses at summit of column, bronze inscription plaques.

PLAN: Raised semi-circular enclosure with short straight walls extending on either side. Circular column in centre of enclosure.

DESCRIPTION: Enclosure is entered by a centrally placed flight of 6 steps, with the lowest step extended along the outside base of the enclosure walls to form a low shelf to place wreaths on. Sunk into the upper faces of the enclosure walls are 24 tall, rectangular, bronze plaques shaped in section as a shallow V like the pages of a book, and containing the names of the dead (8 plaques on each of the curving walls to either side of the steps, and 4 more on each of the straight extensions). Names arranged alphabetically under the names of over 120 ships on which the seamen had served. One extra name plaque below this level towards the far end of the right wing, which lists the names of those who died on land, but whose graves are unknown. Either side of the steps are gate posts surmounted by white stone globes; that on the left is a terrestrial globe, that on the right is a celestial globe bearing signs of the Zodiac. There are 2 bronze plaques at entrance to enclosure; on side face of the left gate post is a plaque inscribed THE REGISTER CONTAINING / THE NAMES RECORDED / ON THESE PANELS / MAY BE SEEN AT THE OFFICES / OF THE TOWN CLERK / AND THE MERSEY DOCKS / AND HARBOUR BOARD, on the side face of the right gate post is a plaque inscribed THIS MEMORIAL WAS BUILT / AND IS MAINTAINED BY THE COMMONWEALTH / WAR GRAVES COMMISSION. Within the enclosure are stone benches set against the interior faces of the curved walls. At the centre of the enclosure is a circular column surmounted by silver-backed glass lenses evoking a lighthouse. Near its base is a carved inscription reading THESE OFFICERS / AND MEN OF THE / MERCHANT NAVY / DIED WHILE / SERVING WITH / THE ROYAL NAVY / AND HAVE NO / GRAVE BUT / THE SEA / 1939-1945, with a Naval badge, Naval crown, wreath and foul anchor above. The design of the pavement around the base of the column is based on a mariner's compass.

HISTORY: A more correct name for the memorial is `Memorial to the Missing of the Naval Auxiliary Personnel of the Second World War' as it was erected specifically to commemorate the 1,390 merchant seamen who lost their lives at sea serving on Royal Navy vessels during World War II. The merchant seamen commemorated enrolled with the Royal Navy under the then newly-instigated T124 agreement, under which they would be subject to Royal Navy discipline whilst retaining Merchant Navy rates of pay and other conditions. The T124 manning depot was established in Liverpool. The Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission ran a national competition for architects who had served in the forces to design a memorial with a budget set at £5,000. The first prize was awarded to Stanley Harold Smith and Charles Frederick Blythin. It was unveiled by Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Cunningham on 12 November 1952.

SOURCES
Terry Cavanagh, Public Sculpture of Liverpool (Liverpool, 1997), 146-9.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Merchant Navy War Memorial is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is an evocative war memorial to the merchant seamen who lost their lives serving aboard Royal Navy vessels during the Second World War, designed to incorporate appropriate references to the seafarers it commemorates, namely a mariner's compass and lighthouse
* It is the national memorial to merchant seamen who served on Royal Navy vessels, rather than their own vessels, during the Second World War under the T124 agreement
* It is architect-designed by London architects Stanley H Smith and Charles F Blythin, who won a national competition run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The sculptural detailing is by the prominent Liverpool sculptor, H Tyson Smith, who has other memorials listed
* It is the counterpart to the listed Mercantile Marine Memorial, Trinity Square, London, which commemorates those men who lost their lives serving on Merchant Navy vessels during the two World Wars
* It stands in a prominent location on the waterfront in the proximity of a number of other listed buildings and memorials including the Port of Liverpool Building (formerly the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Building), the Cunard Building, the Royal Liver Building, the Memorial to Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, the War Memorial in front of the Cunard Building, and the Monument of Edward VII.


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.

Reasons for Listing

The Merchant Navy War Memorial is recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is the national memorial to merchant seamen who served on Royal Navy vessels, rather than their own vessels, during World War II under the T124 agreement
* It is an evocative war memorial to the merchant seamen who lost their lives serving aboard Royal Navy vessels during the Second World War, designed to incorporate appropriate references to the seafarers it commemorates, namely a mariner's compass and lighthouse
* It is architect-designed by London architects Stanley H Smith and Charles F Blythin, who won a national competition run by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The sculptural detailing is by the prominent Liverpool sculptor, H Tyson Smith, who has other memorials listed
* It stands in a prominent location on the waterfront in the proximity of a number of other listed buildings and memorials including the Port of Liverpool Building (formerly the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Building), the Cunard Building, the Royal Liver Building, the Memorial to Sir Alfred Lewis Jones, the War Memorial in front of the Cunard Building, and the Monument of Edward VII.

Selected Sources

Book cover links are generated automatically from the sources. They are not necessarily always correct, as book names at Amazon may not be quite the same as those used referenced in the text.

Source title links go to a search for the specified title at Amazon. Availability of the title is dependent on current publication status. You may also want to check AbeBooks, particularly for older titles.

Recommended Books

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.