War memorial. Erected 1921. Newbury Abbot Trent, sculptor.
Reason for Listing
Beckenham War Memorial is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by this community in both World Wars, and subsequent conflicts, it is of strong historic and cultural significance both at a local and a national level
* Artistic interest: it is an elegantly detailed monument with bas-relief carvings by a notable sculptor
Beckenham War Memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1921 by former army sergeant, Bert Hanscombe, a council employed dustman, and one of 9 brothers who fought in, and survived, the First World War.
By Remembrance Day 1946, the inscription on the memorial had been altered to commemorate those who fell in the Second World War; however the names of those who fell during this later conflict were not added until 1950. At this time the original Roll of Honour plaques were replaced with a new set, allowing for almost double the number of names to be listed. The plaques list not just HM Forces, but also civilians, civil defence and auxiliary fire service. Another small plaque has been added since, commemorating those who have given their lives in conflicts and peace-keeping missions around the world since the Second World War.
The memorial is in Portland stone, c7.5m high, and takes the form of a tall column, rectangular in section, on a two-tier base, surmounted by a stylised in-filled Celtic cross. There are bas-relief carvings on both faces of the cross. To the north, the carving depicts a mounted St George slaying the dragon, and on the south face the carving depicts the phoenix rising from the ashes, with the word IMMORTALITY spelled out in bronze letters above. The north face of the column bears the following inscription in applied bronze lettering:
IN GRATEFUL MEMORY / OF/ THE MEN AND WOMEN OF / BECKENHAM / WHO FELL IN THE TWO / WORLD WARS / 1914-1918 / 1939-1945
The south face of the column bears the following inscription in applied bronze lettering:
HE DIED THE NOBLEST DEATH / A MAN MAY DIE / FIGHTING FOR GOD AND / RIGHT AND LIBERTY / AND SUCH A DEATH IS / IMMORTALITY
The Roll of Honour is on a number of bronze plaques arranged around the lower part of the column.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.