History in Structure

Kettering Cenotaph

A Grade II Listed Building in Kettering, North Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3959 / 52°23'45"N

Longitude: -0.7276 / 0°43'39"W

OS Eastings: 486675

OS Northings: 278307

OS Grid: SP866783

Mapcode National: GBR CVW.NWC

Mapcode Global: VHDRH.B1PL

Plus Code: 9C4X97WC+9X

Entry Name: Kettering Cenotaph

Listing Date: 9 June 2015

Last Amended: 13 December 2022

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1426574

ID on this website: 101426574

Location: Manor House Gardens, Wadcroft, North Northamptonshire, NN15

County: North Northamptonshire

Electoral Ward/Division: St Michael's and Wicksteed

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kettering

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Kettering St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Tagged with: Cenotaph

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First World War memorial off Sheep Street, alongside the Alfred East Art Gallery. Unveiled 1921. Additions for later conflicts.


The memorial stands in a small courtyard at the entrance to the Alfred East Art Gallery, on the edge of the Manor House Gardens, in what at the time was central Kettering. Some 8m high and in limestone (probably Weldon stone like the Alfred East Gallery), it is an adaptation of Lutyens' Whitehall Cenotaph, a tapering pylon, buttressed at the corners by clasping piers, which flow into the lower section of the memorial. An outsailing cornice runs around the top with a symbolic plain block of stone above representing an empty tomb.

A decorative two-stage stepped base provides a ledge for wreath laying. The upper part of the front face (facing Sheep Street) has in raised lettering on its upper part ‘IN MEMORY OF/ THOSE WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE/ GREAT WAR/ 1914-1919’. Beneath is a wreath suspended from a ribbon, both carved in high relief. Below the wreath a stone has been inserted carrying in raised lettering the wording ‘FOR THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939-1945/ AND SUBSEQUENT CONFLICTS’.

On the right and left faces is lettered ‘OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD. The rear face has THEIR NAME/ LIVETH/ FOR/ EVERMORE’. On all three faces there is an identical ribbon wreath to that on the front.

This List entry was 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, 17 January 2017.


As the war’s end neared, grandiose plans were made in Kettering for a war memorial in the form of a domed hall to seat 400-500, together with a large cross, to be sited in the Manor House Gardens at the corner of Sheep Street and Bowling Green Road. As a temporary measure a wooden Cenotaph designed by the notable Kettering architect John Alfred Gotch (1852-1942) was erected outside Kettering Library which adjoins the gardens. On Armistice Day, 11 November 1919, a ceremony was held around it, a deliberate echo of what was happening on the same day in Whitehall, London.

Subsequently funds were raised by Kettering War Memorial Committee for a permanent replacement, clearly intended to resemble, in general terms, Sir Edwin Lutyens’s Whitehall Cenotaph, where again a permanent stone structure replaced a temporary Armistice Day structure. Once more the memorial was designed by Gotch and built by WT Cox of Kettering.

Generally known in the C20 as the Cenotaph, the memorial and the accompanying wall panels, situated on the Grade II-listed Alfred East Art Gallery (built 1913), carry the names of the fallen costing approximately £1,390. It was unveiled in 1921. An inscription was added after the Second World War, and further name panels were added to the Alfred East Art Gallery. Additional names have been added to the panels to remember those who have died after 1945 and in 2018 an inscription was added to the cenotaph in remembrance of those who died in subsequent conflicts. The memorial was refurbished in 1980, following fundraising by the local branch of the Christian organisation, Toc H.

Reasons for Listing

Kettering Cenotaph, alongside the Alfred East Art Gallery, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* an ambitious, carefully-designed memorial, lightly echoing the Whitehall Cenotaph;
* by the well-regarded local architect JA Gotch.

Historic interest:

* as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20 and C21;
* close to the Grade II-listed Alfred East Art Gallery.

External Links

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