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Lewisham War Memorial, Memorial Gardens

A Grade II Listed Building in Lewisham, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4536 / 51°27'12"N

Longitude: -0.016 / 0°0'57"W

OS Eastings: 537948

OS Northings: 174600

OS Grid: TQ379746

Mapcode National: GBR L3.0NM

Mapcode Global: VHGR7.NQXK

Entry Name: Lewisham War Memorial, Memorial Gardens

Listing Date: 13 July 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1435882

Location: Lewisham, London, SE13

County: London

District: Lewisham

Electoral Ward/Division: Lewisham Central

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Lewisham

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Lewisham St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Summary

First World War memorial, designed by E A Stone, unveiled on 7 May 1921.

Description

MATERIALS: Portland stone

DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of a tapered Classical obelisk decorated with fluting and a Latin cross in relief on its four faces. It sits upon a square plinth which holds a stone plaque on its west front facing the High Street. It is decorated with the Borough of Lewisham's Arms below which is inscribed: IN MEMORY OF/ ALL LEWISHAM/ PEOPLE/ WHO LOST/ THEIR LIVES/ 1914-1918/ AND/ 1939-1945.

Below, the foundation stone is inscribed: THIS STONE WAS LAID BY/ HARRY CHIESMAN/ JP MBE/ MAYOR OF LEWISHAM/ NOVEMBER 6TH 1920.

The memorial sits upon a three-stepped octagonal base in the centre of a circular paved area. At either side of the entrance from the High Street are two smaller stone obelisks each inscribed on their front faces: THESE PIERS/ WERE ERECTED/ TO THE MEMORY OF/ THE OFFICERS/ AND MEN OF THE/ 11TH LEWISHAM BATTALION,/ ROYAL WEST KENT REGIMENT,/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. Each is decorated with the regimental badge in relief at the top. Each obelisk is topped with a bronze base which once carried a bronze lamp.

The circular paved area around the memorial with the path leading to the High Street flanked by the obelisks either side, were all part of the original design and are integral to the memorial.


This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 16 February 2017.

History

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, 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.

One such memorial was raised at Lewisham facing Lewisham High Street 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 site for the memorial was donated by the Earl of Dartmouth and the Lewisham Park Trustees and the memorial was designed by E A Stone, a London-based architect, with the foundation stone being laid by Harry Chiesman, Mayor of Lewisham, on 6 November 1920.

The memorial was unveiled on the 7 May 1921 by Major General Sir William Thwaites. It can be seen on a contemporary photograph as a memorial surrounded by a circular paved area and with a path leading out into the High Street. Either side of the entrance were two smaller obelisks. Each obelisk is now topped with the base of a bronze lamp, not part of the original design. The map of 1950 shows that the memorial remained as it was until the Memorial Gardens were laid out around it by 1963.

Reasons for Listing

Lewisham War Memorial, unveiled 1921, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: as a well-executed Portland stone Classical obelisk decorated with a carved Latin cross and an inscribed stone plaque with the Borough of Lewisham's Arms;
* Design: for the surrounding paved area with a path leading to the High Street flanked by two smaller obelisks, each inscribed to the fallen of the Lewisham Battalion and decorated with the regimental badge.

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