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Swanage War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Swanage, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6114 / 50°36'41"N

Longitude: -1.9587 / 1°57'31"W

OS Eastings: 403021

OS Northings: 79079

OS Grid: SZ030790

Mapcode National: GBR 459.HMQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 67SG.8R1

Entry Name: Swanage War Memorial

Listing Date: 24 March 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443734

Location: Swanage, Purbeck, Dorset, BH19

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck

Civil Parish: Swanage

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Swanage St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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War memorial, erected in 1920; reconstructed and re-sited in 2014.


War memorial, erected in 1920; reconstructed and re-sited in 2014.

The structure is in the form of a large, tapering cairn which is built of weathered, cut and squared Purbeck stone that is mortared. It stands on a base of three stone steps. The E face has an inset stone tablet which is inscribed in painted black lettering: In Memory of / Swanage Men / who fell in the Great War / 1914-1918. Above this is a similar tablet which reads: In Memory of The / Swanage Men and Women / /Who Lost Their Lives in / The War / 1939-1945. The other three faces carry plaques bearing the names of the Fallen. The memorial now (2017) stands on a modern tarmac surface.

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, 5 June 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, 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 erected in Swanage, within a newly-created Memorial Recreation Ground on the N side of the town. It was unveiled on 1 August 1920 and commemorates the 99 local men who died during the conflict. After the Second World War a second dedicatory inscription, together with names of the Fallen, was added in memory of the 65 local men and women who lost their lives during this war.

The memorial originally stood on stone paving within a low walled enclosure with metal gates on the W side. In 2014, during stabilisation work to the sloping land on the E side of the recreation ground, the war memorial was dismantled and subsequently reconstructed in a new location, a short distance away from its original position.

Reasons for Listing

Swanage 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 the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: the simple design, in the form of a large cairn, is fitting for its purpose as a memorial structure.

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