War memorial, First and Second World Wars, including civilian casualties in Louth in the Second World War.
Reason for Listing
Louth War Memorial, unveiled in 1921, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historical interest: it is a moving reminder of the impact on the community of two World Wars and of the sacrifice suffered. The identification of the model for the soldier depicted, Regimental Sergeant Major George Frederick Jones, is of additional historical interest, as is the inclusion of the names of civilians killed in Louth in the Second World War.
* Design and presence: its design is powerful, detailed and considered, and its height and position on the corner of Ramsgate and Eastgate give it prominence in the Louth streetscape.
The town of Louth in Lincolnshire, often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Wolds’ has Saxon origins, and at the time of the Domesday survey was one of Lincolnshire’s seven market towns, with a population of 600. Louth’s medieval prosperity was derived from exporting wool and grain, and its magnificent parish church is testimony to the wealth generated by agriculture in the region, and by Louth’s relative proximity to the east coast. Although the town declined in prosperity in the C18, the early years of the Industrial Revolution and the opening of the Louth-Tetney canal in 1770 brought renewed growth and prosperity, further boosted by the arrival of the railway in 1848, and between 1801 and 1851 the population of the town more than doubled to 10,000.
The size of Louth's population before the First World War is reflected in the deaths recorded on the war memorial, suggesting a loss in line with the approximate national average of 2% of the population. The memorial is at the corner of Ramsgate and Eastgate, erected on land belonging to the almshouses, built in 1885. The Trustees of the almshouses insisted on approving the design and the memorial was finally unveiled in 1921 by the High Steward of the Borough, Major J St Vigor Fox. The memorial was made by W S Harrison, a local firm of masons, but the identity of the soldier on the plinth was unknown until his daughter gifted his medals and photographs to the Louth Royal British Legion in the late C20. The photographs show Regimental Sergeant Major George Frederick Jones posing in full service uniform and holding a Lee-Enfield rifle, almost exactly as he appears on the memorial. Shields were added at the base of the memorial to commemorate those who died in the Second World War, unusually including one bearing the names of fifteen civilians, five men and ten women, all except two of whom died in two separate incidents on Ramsgate and Grimsby Road in February and September of 1941.
War Memorial, First and Second World Wars; stone.
The war memorial stands within an oval defined by a low stone wall topped by low railings set in a space created by the removal of the corner of the almshouses garden. The oval is connected on its east side to the wall surrounding the almshouse garden by a low platform reached by a step up from the pavement to either side; also attached to the almshouse garden wall on each side are low semi-circular planters contained by stone walls of the same construction as that surrounding the memorial; a single tree stands in each. Three octagonal steps rise to the base of an octagonal two tier plinth, both tiers inscribed on all sides with the names of those who died in the Great War, over 200 in all. The top tier has a moulded cornice above which is short pillar, its four faces separated by pilasters with black shafts. Two of the faces each carry a lion's heads with wreath; the other two have shields and wreaths, that to the south carrying an inscription in memory of those who fell in the Great War. Above the cornice a short square plinth carries a soldier in service dress standing against a tree stump, holding a rifle in his right hand in the at ease position. Leaning against the three stepped base are three shields: the 77 names of those who died in action in the Second World War are inscribed on the outer two, while the central shield carries the names of the 15 civilians who also were killed.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.