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Whitburn War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Whitburn, South Tyneside

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Latitude: 54.9488 / 54°56'55"N

Longitude: -1.3699 / 1°22'11"W

OS Eastings: 440455

OS Northings: 561749

OS Grid: NZ404617

Mapcode National: GBR LCW6.6S

Mapcode Global: WHD4Z.XWT2

Plus Code: 9C6WWJXJ+G2

Entry Name: Whitburn War Memorial

Listing Date: 15 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1442999

Location: South Tyneside, SR6

County: South Tyneside

Electoral Ward/Division: Whitburn and Marsden

Built-Up Area: Whitburn

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Whitburn

Church of England Diocese: Durham

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First World War memorial, unveiled 1921.


MATERIALS: Dalbeattie granite, bronze wreath.

DESCRIPTION: The memorial stands on the village green to the south of Front Street, in close proximity to a number of Grade II-listed buildings. It takes the form of a Classical obelisk, c4.5m tall, in Dalbeattie granite. The tall obelisk, square on plan, rises from a tapering plinth. The plinth base has a scotia moulding and stands on a single step.

The admonition LEST/ WE/ FORGET is carved to the front face of the obelisk, with below a bronze wreath. The principal dedicatory inscription on the front face of the plinth reads IN HONOURED MEMORY OF/ THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 - 1919/ AND IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION/ OF THE PATRIOTISM OF THOSE/ WHO SERVED THEIR COUNTRY/ IN THE HOUR OF HER NEED./ ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF WHITBURN. The commemorated First World War names of men from Whitburn are recorded on the remaining three faces of the plinth.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: one granite tablet placed at the foot of the memorial reads 1939 – 1945/ LET US ALSO REMEMBER/ (NAMES) whilst a second tablet, precisely similar in form, placed to the opposite side reads IN HONOURED MEMORY/ OF THOSE FROM MARSDEN DISTRICT WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WARS +/ 1914 – 1918/ (NAMES)/ 1939 – 1945/ (NAMES).

This List entry has been 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, 23 November 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 Whitburn 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 on 17 July 1921 by Lt-Col Pollard and dedicated by the Bishop of Durham. By Messrs Borrowdale Brothers of Sunderland, it commemorated 48 local servicemen from Whitburn who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of 21 men who died in that conflict were added, recorded on an adjacent tablet.

Whitburn was an older community, but Marsden Village had been built c2.5km to the north to serve Whitburn Colliery, the limestone quarry, paper mill, and other industries on the headland clustered close to the existing Souter Point lighthouse. A number of war memorials were raised in Marsden, including a shrine at the colliery to mark the war service of employees; more than 1,400 men joined up. Marsden Village was demolished after the colliery closed in 1968, so a tablet recording servicemen from Marsden who died in the two world wars has been placed next to the Whitburn memorial.

Reasons for Listing

Whitburn War Memorial, which stands on the village green, 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 First World War;
* Architectural interest; an elegant memorial obelisk in the Classical style.

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