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Ashton-under-Lyne and District War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in St Peter's, Tameside

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4888 / 53°29'19"N

Longitude: -2.0879 / 2°5'16"W

OS Eastings: 394265

OS Northings: 399119

OS Grid: SJ942991

Mapcode National: GBR FXV3.S3

Mapcode Global: WHB9J.WKYT

Entry Name: Ashton-under-Lyne and District War Memorial

Listing Date: 14 July 1987

Last Amended: 2 December 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1067996

English Heritage Legacy ID: 212668

Location: Tameside, OL6

County: Tameside

Electoral Ward/Division: St Peter's

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Ashton-under-Lyne

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Ashton-under-Lyne The Good Shepherd

Church of England Diocese: Manchester

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Summary

The war memorial, designed by the Ashton architect Percy Howard with sculptures by John Ashton Floyd, was unveiled on 16 September 1922.

Description

The memorial is a monumental neo-classical composition which stands at the centre of the contemporary memorial gardens, on an axis with the principal entrance to the south. It is constructed in Portland stone and comprises a tall square shaft supported on a pedestal with a moulded plinth, standing upon a three-tier stepped platform. The main pedestal is flanked by rectangular set-back ‘wings’ whose ends break forward slightly. The faces of the shaft have broad pedimented pilasters with stylised palm leaf friezes. The pedestals and top of the shaft have fluted friezes.

The pedestal wings carry outward-facing life-size bronze lions; that to the left is in combat with a writhing serpent while the other has crushed the serpent beneath its feet. The crowning group comprises the figure of winged Victory bending over a collapsed and wounded soldier in battlefield dress, her arm around his right shoulder. The soldier holds a laurel wreath in his left hand and an inverted sword aloft in his right, Victory clasping his wrist in support. Victory clambers upon a jumbled assemblage of weaponry, equipment and machinery components symbolising the three armed forces, including an aircraft propeller, ropes, sails and an anchor, a tank gear-wheel, artillery guns, rifles and steel helmets.

On the front and rear of the shaft are bronze fixtures in the form of a stylised Roman standard, with a wreath and five horizontal bands with the names of the theatres of war, reading downwards: BELGIUM / FRANCE / GALLIPOLI / EGYPT / ITALY (front) and MESOPOTAMIA / AFRICA / TURKEY / MACEDONIA / RUSSIA (rear).

The front (south face) of the main pedestal has a bronze panel with a bead-and-reel border, with relief lettering reading: ERECTED IN HONOUR OF THE MEN OF / ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE AND DISTRICT / WHO FOUGHT FOR KING AND EMPIRE IN / THE GREAT WAR, ESPECIALLY THOSE / WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES, AND / WHOSE NAMES ARE RECORDED HEREON 1914 – 1919, with coats of arms to either side. A similar, narrow panel beneath reads 1939 – 1945.

To either side, and along the rear, are 38 bronze panels with the names of the fallen of the First World War in relief lettering, each panel with 40 names. The east and west return faces each have a bronze panel with the names of the men who died in the Second World War, 301 in total.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 30 January 2017.

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. 

Ashton-under-Lyne, a populous Lancashire industrial town, saw significant losses in the conflict, with over 1,500 dead. A grandiose scheme by a local art master was drawn up in 1919 but abandoned due to cost, and a new design was commissioned from the local architect Percy Howard and the Manchester-based sculptor John Ashton Floyd, who were also responsible for the war memorial in the Waterloo and Taunton district of Ashton. The war memorial was paid for by public subscription at a cost of £8,000. It was unveiled by General Sir Ian Hamilton on 16 September 1922 and dedicated by the Rev W A Parry. The ceremony was unfortunately marred by the collapse of a wooden viewing platform in which 40 people were injured. The panels commemorating those who died in the Second World War were unveiled on 11 November 1950 by the Mayor of Ashton, Alderman E Clark.

John Ashton Floyd studied at the Municipal School of Art, Manchester, and worked for a time in the studio of the eminent Manchester sculptor John Cassidy. He worked on several war memorials in the Manchester area including the Manchester Post Office peace memorial (1929). Floyd was also responsible for the sculptural decoration at Lutyens’ Manchester Midland Bank.

Reasons for Listing

Ashton-under-Lyne and District War Memorial 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 sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural and sculptural interest: an imposing neo-classical composition with fine bronze sculpture and fixtures. The portrayal of Victory and the exhausted hero emerging from the detritus of war is both powerful and distinctive;
* Group value: with the parish church of St Michael (Grade I) and the entrance gates to the south and south-west of the memorial garden (Grade II).

Selected Sources

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