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Keswick War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Keswick, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.6013 / 54°36'4"N

Longitude: -3.1342 / 3°8'3"W

OS Eastings: 326823

OS Northings: 523495

OS Grid: NY268234

Mapcode National: GBR 6HK7.7B

Mapcode Global: WH706.TLPX

Entry Name: Keswick War Memorial

Listing Date: 17 October 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1438053

Location: Keswick, Allerdale, Cumbria, CA12

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale

Civil Parish: Keswick

Built-Up Area: Keswick

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Keswick St John

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

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First World War memorial, 1922, with later additions for the Second World War.


The tall stone memorial is located in a triangular area of land between Penrith Road, Station Street and the River Greta. The front of the memorial faces south-west along Station Road. It takes the form of a tall pedimented pylon standing on a rectangular platform and three-stage base. The entablature below the pediment in inscribed MCMXIV - MCMXIX in incised lettering. Carved in relief on the front face of the pylon is a figure of Victory, leaning on a sheathed sword draped with laurel wreaths.

Two Honister slate plaques are fixed to the front face of the base covering the original, incised, inscriptions. The inscription on the uppermost plaque reads TO KEEP FRESH THE MEMORY/ OF OUR BRAVE MEN WHO FELL/ IN THE GREAT WARS. On the plaque below are listed the names of those 109 local men who died in the First World War. On the north-west and south-east sides of the memorial are matching slate plaques. The uppermost plaques, to both sides, reads 1939 - 1945, while the lower list the names of those who died in the Second World War.

On the rear of the memorial is a bronze plaque cast in relief depicting two crossed olive branches and the following inscription: COCKERMOUTH KESWICK & PENRITH RAILWAY COMPANY/ IN PROUD & HONOURED MEMORY OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THE COMPANY/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR KING & COUNTRY IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1918. There are seven names listed below, given with their rank and regiment.

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, 2 February 2017.


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. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Keswick 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 memorial was unveiled in a ceremony on 21 May 1922. It is the work of the artist Mr F Derwent Wood. The memorial cost £2,500, raised by public subscription. The ceremony was attended by Lord Rochdale, Mr Walter Swinburn and Reverend CH Lewin of St Johns Church, Keswick.

Following the end of the Second World War plaques with the names of those who had died were added, and the memorial was re-dedicated on 8 November 1947 in a ceremony attended by Mr FJ Ashton, a soldier who had fought in the First World War, and Mr Edwin Evans of the Blencathra Hotel, Keswick. There are 109 names of those who died in the First World War, and the names of 51 from the Second World War. The inscription on the front of the memorial was altered to read WARS instead of WAR.

A bronze plaque commemorating the employees of the Cockermouth, Keswick and Penrith Railway Company who died in the First World War was relocated to the rear of the memorial on 6 March 1972 following the closure of Keswick Railway Station, where it had originally been unveiled on 1 May 1920. The plaque is the work of the Keswick School of Industrial Art, and cost £35.

Francis Derwent Wood ARA (1871-1926) was born locally and was a figure and monumental sculptor of some renown, as well as a draughtsman and painter. During the First World War he volunteered in hospital wards, as he was too old to enlist. In 1917 he opened a special clinic in Wandsworth to construct masks for men who had suffered facial injuries in the war. He became Professor of Sculpture at the Royal College of Art from 1918-1923. Among his other works is the Machine Gun Corps Memorial, London, which is Grade II*-listed.

Reasons for Listing

Keswick War Memorial, which stands in County Square, 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 local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: a tall and elegant memorial in the Classical style;
* Sculptural interest: with a finely carved figure of Victory by noted sculptor Francis Derwent Wood.

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