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Syston War Memorial Clock Tower

A Grade II Listed Building in Syston, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.6966 / 52°41'47"N

Longitude: -1.0769 / 1°4'36"W

OS Eastings: 462483

OS Northings: 311394

OS Grid: SK624113

Mapcode National: GBR 9N2.Y9W

Mapcode Global: WHFK9.FHF1

Plus Code: 9C4WMWWF+M7

Entry Name: Syston War Memorial Clock Tower

Listing Date: 7 April 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433278

Location: Syston, Charnwood, Leicestershire, LE7

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Syston

Built-Up Area: Syston

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Syston

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

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Memorial clock tower unveiled and dedicated on 17 December 1921. Built to the design of Fogg, Son and Holt, sculpted by Edward Owen Griffith and with a clock by Gent and Co. of Leicester. The memorial was added to following the Second World War.


The memorial clock tower Syston, built to the design of Fogg, Son and Holt of Liverpool, sculpted by Edward Owen Griffith and with a clock by Gent and Co. of Leicester, was unveiled on 17 December 1921 attended by Duke of Rutland and dedicated by Rev T R Avery.
Built in Storeton sandstone, the tower stands on a stepped base of Yorkshire stone, with low square-plan piers at each corner. The hammer-dressed stone plinth is in contrast to the slightly tapering tower of dressed stone. The tower is of neoclassical style in its proportions and decorative detailing, with chamfered rustication to the quoins, dentiled decoration and fret work beneath the broad overhanging cornice. Above the cornice, the tower narrows with a clock face on two sides and a carved lion to the top. Beneath the cornice, bronze plaques to each side are engraved with the names of those who lost their lives during the First World War and the Second World War. Carved laurel wreaths are positioned above each plaque with decorative lamps on brackets by Art Metal Works of Leicester, to two sides. The whole is enclosed by modern iron railings.

The principal dedicatory inscription reads TO THE/ HONOURED/ MEMORY/ OF THOSE/ FROM/ THIS PARISH/ WHO GAVE/ THEIR LIVES/ FOR FREEDOM/ IN THE/ GREAT WAR/ 1914-18/ AND THE/ WORLD WAR/ 1939-45. The names of the 82 men who lost their lives in the First World War and the 45 who died during Second World War are listed in order of their surname.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the iron railings enclosing the memorial are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Prior to then memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, which was the first major war following reforms to the British Army which led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and 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.

The memorial clock tower Syston, built to the design of Fogg, Son and Holt of Liverpool, sculpted by Edward Owen Griffith and with a clock by Gent and Co. of Leicester, was unveiled on 17 December 1921 attended by Duke of Rutland and dedicated by Rev T R Avery. Plaques commemorating those who died during the Second World War were later added.

In April 1972 as part of a road improvement scheme, it was relocated from the junction of the High Street and Melton Road to its current location in Central Park. In 2012 The War Memorials Trust paid a grant of £1,165 under the Small Grants Scheme towards conservation works including cleaning, repointing, smart water and anti-theft fittings.

The company of Fogg Son and Holt Architects and Surveyors was dissolved in August 1924. Edward Owen Griffiths was a respected sculptor and mason working on memorials in Wigan and Preston both designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott (Wigan listed at Grade II*) and another in the church of St Paul, Masbrough, Rotherham.

Reasons for Listing

Syston War Memorial Clock Tower, unveiled in 1921 and designed by Fogg, Son and Holt, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a poignant reminder of the impact of tragic world events upon an individual community, which therefore has strong cultural and historical significance within both a local and national context;

* Architectural interest: as an unusual, finely-detailed, imposing and architecturally distinctive tribute to the fallen of the First and Second World Wars produced by Edward Owen Griffiths, a respected sculptor and mason of the time.

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