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Sutton Coldfield War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.5661 / 52°33'57"N

Longitude: -1.8243 / 1°49'27"W

OS Eastings: 412006

OS Northings: 296483

OS Grid: SP120964

Mapcode National: GBR 3J9.R0

Mapcode Global: WHCH7.YRGN

Entry Name: Sutton Coldfield War Memorial

Listing Date: 30 March 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1425254

Location: Birmingham, B73

County: Birmingham

Civil Parish: Sutton Coldfield

Built-Up Area: Sutton Coldfield

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Sutton Coldfield Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Summary

A civic war memorial, designed by Francis Doyle-Jones and unveiled in November 1922.

Description

A civic war memorial, designed by Francis Doyle-Jones and unveiled in November 1922.

MATERIALS & PLAN: Dalbeattie granite and sandstone plinth with a bronze statue and plaques.

PLAN: the plinth is square on plan and the statue shows a figure of a soldier to full height.


DESCRIPTION: the memorial faces east and takes the form of a bronze, full-length statue of a soldier in battle dress, standing on a granite plinth which has bronze plaques attached to its front and flanks. The platform has two steps formed of large slabs of granite. Above this the plinth is square in section with a wider portion to its base which has alternating projecting and recessed quoins to the corners. At the centre of each front are large bronze plaques with lettering in relief. To the upper part of the east face of the plinth the plaque reads; ‘ERECTED TO THE / GLORIOUS MEMORY / OF THE MEN OF / SUTTON / COLDFIELD / WHO GAVE / THEIR LIVES IN / THE GREAT WAR / 1914 - 1919 / THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE’. To the top of this plaque are two coloured enamel armorials on crossed shields. On a separate plaque, below this is inscribed ‘ALSO TO THOSE WHO / FELL IN THE WORLD WAR / 1939 – 1945’ and a third plaque to the base of the plinth gives the names of the fallen in the Second World War. To the top of the plinth on the east side is a carved oval laurel wreath with crossed torches, in relief. The flanks and rear have similar bronze plaques which record the fallen from the First World War. The bronze statue shows a soldier, wearing great coat and helmet with his gas mask holder at the front, water bottle to the side and back pack. His crossed hands lean on his rifle. Surrounding the monument, and enclosing flower beds, is a square, walled enclosure of squared rubble sandstone with coping, which appears to be a later addition.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 18 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. One such memorial was that at Sutton Coldfield. A subscription fund was started in May 1919 and the sculptor Francis Doyle-Jones was chosen after a competition and appointed in November 1919. The subject matter was intended to represent a 'private soldier, the type of those who have gone from nearly every home in the place and the symbol of our common sacrifice. He should be graven as he went up into the trenches and as he came home on leave, with rifle, bayonet and full kit, each thing an emblem of what he had to do and to bear.' After presenting a maquette for approval in March 1922, Doyle-Jones completed the full-sized bronze by July, for which he was paid £1,650. He agreed not to provide a similar statue anywhere else in Warwickshire and not more than two similar statues anywhere in the United Kingdom. The original intention had been for an unveiling ceremony in August, but delays by the stonemason meant that the dedication ceremony was put off until 1 November 1922.

The memorial was restored in 1979, but has been little altered since its completion.

Born in West Hartlepool, the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association biographies note that Doyle-Jones was trained at the South Kensington School, under Edouard Lanteri. He made his début at the Royal Academy in 1903, with subjects relating to the recent Boer War. He created Boer War memorials (several of the following are listed) for Middlesbrough (1904), West Hartlepool (1905), Llanelli (1905), Gateshead (1905), and Penrith (1906). He later made at least three First World War memorials other than that at Sutton Coldfield, including that at Gravesend, Kent, with a figure of Victory. His public monuments, apart from those put up in memory of journalists in Fleet Street, include Captain Webb (1910) at Dover, and Robert Burns (1914) at Galashiels.

Reasons for Listing

Sutton Coldfield war memorial, King Edward Square, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: as an accomplished and well-realised war memorial, designed by the sculptor Francis Doyle-Jones.

Selected Sources

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