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Helmshore War Memorial clock tower

A Grade II Listed Building in Helmshore, Lancashire

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Latitude: 53.6837 / 53°41'1"N

Longitude: -2.3316 / 2°19'53"W

OS Eastings: 378194

OS Northings: 420852

OS Grid: SD781208

Mapcode National: GBR DT5V.07

Mapcode Global: WH97B.4NZW

Plus Code: 9C5VMMM9+F9

Entry Name: Helmshore War Memorial clock tower

Listing Date: 15 April 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1463395

Location: Rossendale, Lancashire, BB4

County: Lancashire

Electoral Ward/Division: Helmshore

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire


A First World War memorial clock tower unveiled in 1922, with alterations after the Second World War.


A First World War memorial of 1922 with alterations after the Second World War, by James Miller of Glasgow.

MATERIALS: Fletcher Bank sandstone, bronze.

DESCRIPTION: standing in a memorial park within the larger Memorial Grounds.

The memorial takes the form of a slightly tapering square ashlar tower approximately 11m tall and 3m square at the base, with a bold cornice and a lattice window on each side. Above the cornice the upper stage has a large square clock face on each side and a pyramid roof above another cornice. A string course runs around the lower part of the tower; set into the east face of this is a boldly-framed, white-lettered bronze panel inscribed, TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND/ IN GRATEFUL RECOLLECTION OF THEIR SERVICES AND SACRIFICE/ THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS OF HELMSHORE, EWOOD BRIDGE, IRWELL VALE,/ DEDICATE THIS MONUMENT TO THEIR HONOURED AND IMMORTAL MEMORY/ “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS”/ 1914-1918/ (53 NAMES)/ 1939-1945/ (12 NAMES).

The names of the fallen are listed by year of death, and then alphabetically. A bronze Tudor crown is set above the plaque. A moulded plinth runs around the foot of the tower. A door is set into the west face, presumably giving access to the clock mechanism, and with an architrave matching the border around the dedication plaque.

The memorial stands on a square three-stepped stone base, two of which are visible, the upper one with grass surrounding the monument.


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 which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Helmshore as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by 53 members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War (of 460 who served). The designer of the tower and gardens was James MIller (1860 to 1947) of Glasgow. The memorial clock tower was unveiled on 24 June 1922 by Mrs WJ Porritt and Mrs H Porritt. The land for the memorial gardens, and the costs once donations had been deducted, were a gift from the Porritt family who were local mill-owners. A substantial parade and ceremony marked the occasion, and this included a reading of a scroll sent by the King to the bereaved of all fallen servicemen.

The gateposts for the gardens reportedly came from the nearby house, Horncliffe. The clock was supplied by Messrs Joyce of Whitchurch in Shropshire. There are four bells providing the hours and the Cambridge chime quarters. The memorial gardens were taken over by the town council on 6 May 1925. Following the Second World War, the inscribed bronze plaque was replaced to include the names of 12 fallen from that conflict. The base of the memorial originally had three steps but the ground around the memorial has been raised since the 1960s so that the lower step is no longer visible. The upper step is grassed over but was originally paved.

Reasons for Listing

Helmshore War Memorial clock tower, a First World War memorial of 1922 with alterations after the Second World War, by James Miller of Glasgow, 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:

* for the strong design interest of the tapering ashlar stone obelisk with pyramidal roof and boldly-moulded cornices, string course and architraves.

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