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Cheam War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Cheam, London

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Latitude: 51.3601 / 51°21'36"N

Longitude: -0.217 / 0°13'1"W

OS Eastings: 524237

OS Northings: 163841

OS Grid: TQ242638

Mapcode National: GBR BR.3Z5

Mapcode Global: VHGRQ.624Q

Entry Name: Cheam War Memorial

Listing Date: 5 December 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1440363

Location: Sutton, London, SM3

County: London

District: Sutton

Electoral Ward/Division: Cheam

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Sutton

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Cheam

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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First World War memorial, designed by C J Marshall and unveiled on 16 March 1921, with further names added after the Second World War.


MATERIALS: Portland stone memorial with York stone steps and Hopton Wood marble panels.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is located in gardens adjacent to the library in Malden Road. The memorial comprises a cross with a wreath of laurel leaves set upon an octagonal tapering shaft with a square collar carved with laurel. Running around the base of the shaft is the inscription: THEIR NAMES SHALL LIVE FOR EVER MORE. The shaft rises from a square plinth with the cornice embellished with carved dentillated moulding. There are projections or spurs at each corner of the plinth with recessed panels carved with the emblems of the four nations.

The front face of the plinth facing Malden Road carries a recessed panel of Hopton Wood marble which is inscribed with: TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN MEMORY/ OF THE MEN OF CHEAM WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918. This has since been covered with a bronze plaque which carries the inscription: TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN MEMORY/ OF THE MEN WHO FELL IN THE/ GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918/ AND THOSE MEN AND WOMEN OF/ CHEAM/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN DEFENCE/ OF FREEDOM/ IN THE WORLD WAR/ 1939 – 1945.

At the sides are similar marble panels with leaded letters which carry the names of the fallen which number 67 under the headings Royal Navy and Army. Three more names have been added underneath the panel. The back of the plinth bears a laurel wreath enclosing the words OUR GLORIOUS DEAD in raised letters.

The memorial is set upon a three-stepped octagonal base.


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 Cheam as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 67 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

The memorial was erected in part of the garden of West Cheam Manor at the corner of Malden and Church Roads close to the church. The church and ornate lych gate close to the north-east corner of the memorial grounds provided a picturesque and fitting backdrop for the memorial. The money for buying the memorial grounds was given by Mrs Bethell of Cheam Park and the Memorial Committee raised the funds for the design.

The memorial grounds were enclosed by walls which were part of the manor garden walls but were lowered from their original 3.6m height and topped with stone copings. The main entrance gate from Malden Road was approached by five steps and the back portion of the grounds was reserved for a reading room. The grounds had a perimeter path and a central path which surrounded the memorial and divided the grounds into two grass lawns. Either side of the memorial were placed ornate stone seats with ball finials and a German field gun which arrived at the council depot on 12 December 1919 was placed on the east side of the memorial.

The whole ensemble was designed by C J Marshall FRIBA who set out his reasoning in his book The History of Cheam and Sutton. He stated that the design was emblematic of the sacrifice and the two stone seats and gun were an essential part of the ensemble helping to balance the design. The gun emphasised the horrors of war with its strong brutal lines in violent contrast to the memorial where every line was softened and there is not a straight line as they all curve somewhat.

The gun carried an inscription which read: Captured German gun presented by the War Office to Cheam in recognition of services rendered in the Great War, 1914-1918. Against the north wall was a broad walk where it was proposed to put seats. The gun and stone seats have since been removed.

The memorial was unveiled on 16 March 1921 by Admiral Sir Arthur Henry Limpus KCMG, CB and dedicated by the Archdeacon of Kingston, Robert Charles Joynt.The carving and erection were carried out by a local mason Mr Snook of nearby Worcester Park. Among the dead commemorated on the memorial was Flight-Commander F A Brock (son of Brock of Brocks fireworks manufacturers) who invented the smoke screen.

Following the Second World War, three names of those who lost their lives in that war were also added.

Reasons for Listing

Cheam War Memorial 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: an ornate and striking Portland stone cross with carved decorative details;
* Designer: by architect C J Marshall who had set out his rationale for the memorial in his book on the History of Cheam and Sutton and which adds to the understanding of the memorial’s design;
* Group value: with the Church of St Dunstan (Grade II*), Lumley Chapel (Grade II*), lych gate (Grade II), 1-2 Church Road (Grade II) and the Rectory (Grade II).

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