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Newcastle and District War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Westgate, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.9744 / 54°58'27"N

Longitude: -1.6152 / 1°36'54"W

OS Eastings: 424726

OS Northings: 564491

OS Grid: NZ247644

Mapcode National: GBR SP1.1Q

Mapcode Global: WHC3R.573C

Entry Name: Newcastle and District War Memorial

Listing Date: 12 November 1965

Last Amended: 7 December 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1115605

English Heritage Legacy ID: 304533

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1

County: Newcastle upon Tyne

Electoral Ward/Division: Westgate

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Newcastle upon Tyne

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Newcastle St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

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Summary

War memorial. Erected 1923 by the Municipal Borough of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Architects Cackett and Burns. Bronze sculpture by Charles Hartwell.

Description

The memorial stands at the centre of Eldon Square. It consists of a tall classical Portland stone pedestal with a deep moulded base and plinth, standing on a shallow stepped platform. The pedestal is surmounted by a dynamic bronze sculpture of St George (patron saint of the Northumberland Fusiliers) on a rearing charger, thrusting a lance into the gorge of the contorted dragon.

The upper part of the pedestal has a moulded string-course and deep cornice, the east and west sides are slightly convex. The front (south) face has a relief carving of a lion and the inscription 1914-1918/ 1919-1945. The rear face is inscribed MEMORY/ LINGERS HERE; beneath is a bronze laurel wreath. The base is inscribed A TRIBUTE OF AFFECTION/ TO THE MEN OF/ NEWCASTLE AND DISTRICT/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM/ THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE.

The east face has a bronze relief panel entitled JUSTICE, depicting the figure of Justice carrying her scales and another female figure, looking upon a kneeling, abject, semi-nude female; Justice touching the nape of her neck. On the west face a further panel entitled PEACE depicts a mother and child watched over by the winged figure of Peace holding a palm branch.

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, 8 February 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. 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: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. A number were raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, including that in Eldon Square, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

Newcastle and District War Memorial was erected in 1923 to commemorate the men of the city and district who fell in the First World War. It was paid for by public subscription at a cost of £13,260, a surplus in the fund of just over £3,000 being donated to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle. The Newcastle architectural practice Cackett and Burns was responsible for the design of the pedestal. The original choice for the sculptural work had been Alfred Drury but he withdrew and the commission went instead to Charles Hartwell. The memorial was unveiled on 26 September 1923 by Field Marshal Earl Haig, and dedicated by the Bishop of Newcastle.

The site chosen for the memorial, Eldon Square, was laid out in 1825-31 as an early part of Richard Grainger’s ambitious redevelopment plan for Newcastle. The square was substantially demolished in the 1970s to make way for the present shopping Centre, retaining only the eastern terrace. A proposal to relocate the war memorial was abandoned in the face of strong opposition from the Royal British Legion. The memorial was refurbished in 1991 following vandalism, and underwent a major restoration in 2007.

Born in Blackheath, Kent, the sculptor Charles Leonard Hartwell (1873-1951) trained at the City and Guilds School under WS Frith, and at the Royal Academy from 1896, studying privately with Edward Onslow Ford and Hamo Thornycroft. Hartwell was elected RA in 1924, and exhibited at the Royal Academy until the end of his life, specialising in figure sculpture and portraiture in the Romantic tradition of British art. Hartwell worked on several war memorials, an early example of which is the impressive South African War Memorial, Brighton (Grade II). A second cast of the Newcastle sculpture of St George was later used for the Marylebone War Memorial, London (Grade II).

Reasons for Listing

Newcastle 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 impressive civic war memorial with finely modelled bronze sculptures by Charles Hartwell, a distinguished figure in C20 British sculpture. The crowning sculpture of St George is exceptionally spirited and ranks among Hartwell’s most noted works;
* Group value: with Nos. 1-7 Eldon Square, the remaining terrace from the original square, listed at Grade II*.

Selected Sources

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