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Memorial to Louisa AM McGrigor

A Grade II Listed Building in Newlyn, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1029 / 50°6'10"N

Longitude: -5.5487 / 5°32'55"W

OS Eastings: 146334

OS Northings: 28562

OS Grid: SW463285

Mapcode National: GBR DXPD.TCY

Mapcode Global: VH05H.RPZ0

Entry Name: Memorial to Louisa AM McGrigor

Listing Date: 6 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1448848

Location: Penzance, Cornwall, TR18

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Penzance

Built-Up Area: Newlyn

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall


A memorial, unveiled in 1921 and dedicated to Louisa AM McGrigor who died while serving in the Cornwall Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War.


A memorial, unveiled in 1921 and dedicated to Louisa AM McGrigor who died while serving in the Cornwall Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War.

MATERIALS: rough-hewn granite stone and a slate plaque.

DESCRIPTION: a two-stepped, square base, which is surmounted by a tapered pedestal, a Tuscan column and a stone lantern. The dedication on the south side of the pedestal is on a recessed slate slab and reads: ‘IN LOVING MEMORY OF/ LOUISA A. M. MCGRIGOR/ COMMANDANT V.A.D. CORNWALL 22/ WHO DIED ON SERVICE, MARCH 31 1917./ ERECTED BY HER FELLOW WORKERS IN/ THE BRITISH RED CROSS SOCIETY, WOMEN/ UNIONISTS ASSOCIATION, BOY SCOUTS,/ GIRL GUIDES AND FRIENDS.’ Below these words is an adaptation of an extract from the poem, Epilogue by Robert Browning: ‘ONE WHO NEVER TURNED HER BACK BUT MARCHED/ BREAST FORWARD, NEVER DOUBTED CLOUDS WOULD/ BREAK, NEVER DREAMED, THOUGH RIGHT WERE WORSTED,/ WRONG WOULD TRIUMPH, HELD WE FALL TO RISE ARE/ BAFFLED TO FIGHT BETTER. SLEEP TO WAKE.’


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.

This memorial in Newlyn commemorates Louisa Anne May McGrigor (1863-1917) who died during the First World War. She was an active member of the local community. Along with Mrs Robins Bolitho, she started the area's Scouts and Girl Guides movement. She also served as an honorary divisional secretary of the Women's Unionist Association. During the First World War she was Commandant of the Cornwall 22 Voluntary Aid Detachment and ran the Penzance VAD Hospital based on Morrab Road. She died on 31 March 1917 after developing appendicitis. Her funeral took place on 3 April with full military honours and was reported in a local newspaper at the time as being the first military funeral to be accorded to a woman in Penzance and possibly in the West of England.

The memorial stands on the southern edge of Newlyn Harbour. It was funded by friends and colleagues from the various organisations with which she was involved. It was unveiled on Friday 18 March 1921 by Mrs Bolitho, who was a member of a prominent local family. The ceremony was attended by various local dignitaries as well as members of the local Scouts and Girl Guides groups. The memorial is topped by a lantern which was first lit by oil and later by gas, and was used as a street light.

Reasons for Listing

The memorial dedicated to Louisa AM McGrigor on Newlyn Harbour, unveiled in 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 local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;

* As an unusual example of a free-standing memorial dedicated to the service of an individual woman during the First World War.

Architectural interest:

* As a well-considered memorial enhanced by the good use of Cornish granite and a carefully detailed lantern.

Group value:

* With nearby listed buildings including Art Gallery on Fore Street and 1 Trewarveth Street (both listed Grade II).

Other nearby listed buildings

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