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Kettering Cenotaph

A Grade II Listed Building in St Michael's and Wicksteed, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3959 / 52°23'45"N

Longitude: -0.7276 / 0°43'39"W

OS Eastings: 486675

OS Northings: 278307

OS Grid: SP866783

Mapcode National: GBR CVW.NWC

Mapcode Global: VHDRH.B1QL

Entry Name: Kettering Cenotaph

Listing Date: 9 June 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1426574

Location: Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15

County: Northamptonshire

District: Kettering

Electoral Ward/Division: St Michael's and Wicksteed

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kettering

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Kettering St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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First World War memorial off Sheep Street, alongside the Alfred East Art Gallery. Unveiled 1921. Additions for later conflicts.


The memorial stands in a small courtyard between the Alfred East Art Gallery and the Manor House Gardens, in what at the time was central Kettering. Some 8m high, and in limestone (probably Weldon stone like the Alfred East Gallery), it is an adaptation of Lutyens' Whitehall Cenotaph, a tapering pylon, buttressed at the corners by clasping piers, which die in to the lower section of the memorial. An outsailing cornice runs around the top with a symbolic plain block of stone above representing an empty tomb.

A decorative two-stage stepped base provides a ledge for wreath laying.
The upper part of the front face (facing Sheep Street) has in raised lettering on its upper part IN MEMORY OF/ THOSE WHO/ GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE/ GREAT WAR/ 1914-1919. Beneath is a wreath suspended from a ribbon, both carved in high relief. Below the wreath a stone has been inserted carrying in raised lettering the wording FOR THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ 1939-1945/ AND SUBSEQUENT CONFLICTS.

On the right and left faces is lettered OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD. The rear face has THEIR NAME/ LIVETH/ FOR/ EVERMORE. On all three faces there is an identical ribbon wreath to that on the front.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 17/01/2017

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, 17 January 2017.


As the war’s end neared, grandiose plans were made in Kettering for a war memorial in the form of a domed hall to seat 4-500, together with a large cross, to be sited on the public garden at the corner of Sheep Street and Bowling Green Road. As a temporary measure a wooden Cenotaph designed by the notable Kettering architect John Alfred Gotch (1852-1942) was erected outside Kettering Library which adjoins the garden. On Armistice Day, 11 November 1919, a ceremony was held around it, a deliberate echo of what was happening on the same day in Whitehall, London.

Subsequently funds were raised by Kettering War Memorial Committee for a permanent replacement, clearly intended to resemble, in general terms, Sir Edwin Lutyens’s Whitehall Cenotaph, where again a permanent stone structure replaced a temporary Armistice Day structure. Once more the memorial was designed by Gotch, and built by W.T Cox of Kettering.

Generally known in the C20 as the Cenotaph, the memorial and the wall panels carrying the names of the fallen on the Grade II-listed Alfred East Art Gallery (built 1913) alongside cost c£1,390. It was unveiled in 1921. An inscription was added after the Second World War, and further name panels were added to the Alfred East Art Gallery. The memorial was refurbished in 1980, following fundraising by the local branch of Toc H.

Reasons for Listing

Kettering Cenotaph, alongside the Alfred East Art Gallery, 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 sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20 and C21;
* Design: an ambitious, carefully-designed memorial, lightly echoing the Whitehall Cenotaph;
* Architect: by the well-regarded local architect JA Gotch;
* Group value: with the Grade II-listed Alfred East Art Gallery.

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