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Prenton War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Prenton, Wirral

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.368 / 53°22'4"N

Longitude: -3.044 / 3°2'38"W

OS Eastings: 330628

OS Northings: 386185

OS Grid: SJ306861

Mapcode National: GBR 7Y5H.SD

Mapcode Global: WH87D.6LQX

Plus Code: 9C5R9X94+59

Entry Name: Prenton War Memorial

Listing Date: 27 April 2018

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1452585

Location: Wirral, CH42

County: Wirral

Electoral Ward/Division: Prenton

Built-Up Area: Birkenhead

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Summary


First World War memorial, unveiled on 6 August 1920, by Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornley of Liverpool with sculptural adornment by Frank Thomas and Son of Oxton.

Description

First World War memorial, unveiled 6 August 1920, by Briggs, Wolstenholme & Thornley of Liverpool with sculptural work by Frank Thomas and Son of Oxton.

MATERIALS: Yorkshire sandstone with slate inscription plaques.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is set within a landscaped memorial garden and is set upon a two-stepped, coped plinth and has an octagonal three-tiered design incorporating elaborate carved decoration. The lowest tier incorporates slate panels to each face that bear the memorial’s inscriptions. A cornice supported by eight cartouches with crossed palm leafs and hanging festoons divides this from the second tier.

The inscriptions run anti-clockwise from the south face and read as follows:

Tablet one: IN HONOUR/ OF/ THE MEN OF/ THIS/ PARISH/ WHO SERVED/ IN THE/ GREAT/ EUROPEAN/ WAR/ 1914-1919
Tablet two: DIED FOR THEIR/ COUNTRY/ [NAMES]
Tablets three-six: SERVED ABROAD/ [NAMES]
Tablet seven: SERVED ABROAD/ [NAMES]/ SERVED AT HOME/ [NAMES]
Tablet eight: DIED FOR THEIR/ COUNTRY/ [NAMES]

The memorial’s second tier is adorned with double panels of open tracery on each face, topped by a cornice. The top tier has bas-relief panels to each face and a cornice above. Surmounting the whole is a Celtic cross with small urns to each corner, some of which appear to be missing.

History

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. As a result of the huge impact that the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, the memorials provided a main focus for grieving communities.

The site for Prenton War Memorial was procured by Prenton Parish Council on 2 July 1919 from the trustees of Sir Andrew Barclay Walker’s estate for the sum of £500. The war memorial was unveiled on 6 August 1920 and was erected to the designs of Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thornley of Liverpool, with sculptural work by Frank Thomas and Son of Oxton.

During the 'May Blitz' of 1941 Prenton War Memorial suffered bomb damage and the memorial required significant restoration. Salvaging much of the original material and core structure, the memorial was reconstructed following the Second World War, largely to its original design. The second tier had rampant lions and escutcheons at each corner, which are not extant today, and rather than the stone base being directly inscribed, slate panels listing the honorands were affixed to the memorial.

In 2014 the local authority had the memorial cleaned and restored, with the inscriptions of the main plaques re-highlighted in white paint, true to the memorial's original design.

Reasons for Listing

Prenton War Memorial, erected in 1920 to designs by Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thornley, 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 First World War.

Architectural interest:

* the memorial’s multi-tiered octagonal design incorporates a high degree of carved embellishment.

Group value:

* for its strong visual relationship with the Merchant Marine war memorial, which is also listed at Grade II.

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