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Aylestone War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Leicester, City of Leicester

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Latitude: 52.6037 / 52°36'13"N

Longitude: -1.1574 / 1°9'26"W

OS Eastings: 457161

OS Northings: 300993

OS Grid: SK571009

Mapcode National: GBR F9X.HJ

Mapcode Global: WHDJJ.6T39

Entry Name: Aylestone War Memorial

Listing Date: 5 April 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1433210

Location: Leicester, LE2

County: City of Leicester

Electoral Ward/Division: Aylestone

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Leicester

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Aylestone St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

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War memorial by Joseph Herbert Morcom, unveiled and dedicated 23rd April 1921 with additions following the Second World War.


War Memorial in the churchyard of St Andrew's, unveiled in 1921, and designed by Joseph Herbert Morcom in Ancaster limestone.

It stands on a circular paved area with a moulded-curb, overlooking the junction between Old Church Street and Middleton Street. Its elevated position is approached by a series of three steps.

The tall memorial cross comprises a three-stepped octagonal base surmounted by a chamfered pedestal, a chamfered square shaft and a crowned wheel-cross. Immediately beneath the head of the cross carved swords embellish each of the shaft’s chamfers and bronze wreaths on each side embellish the foot of the shaft. The inscriptions are carved in relief on slate tablets on each side of the pedestal.

The principal dedicatory inscription in slate on the front face of the plinth reads IN HONOUR OF/ THE MEN OF/ AYLESTONE/ WHO DIED IN THE/ WAR/ 1914 - 1919/ 1939 - 1945/ "RESOLVE THAT THESE DEAD/ SHALL NOT HAVE DIED IN VAIN". The names of the 46 who lost their lives during World War I are inscribed in slate tablets around the other three sides of the plinth.

The names of the 32 men who lost their lives during World War II are inscribed on a slate panel let into the second step.


The concept of commemorating war dead did not develop to any great extent until towards the end of the C19. Prior to then memorials were rare and were mainly dedicated to individual officers, or sometimes regiments. The first large-scale erection of war memorials dedicated to the ordinary soldier followed the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, which was the first major war following reforms to the British Army which led to regiments being recruited from local communities and with volunteer soldiers. However, it was the aftermath of the First World War that was the great age of memorial building, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

Aylestone War Memorial Cross was designed by Joseph Herbert Morcom and unveiled on 23rd April 1921 at a ceremony led by Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Canon Sturdee conducted the service and Canon Gedge, who retired as Rector in 1913, dedicated the memorial. The memorial commemorates 46 local men who died during the First World War and a further 32 who died during the Second World War.

Joseph Herbert Morcom ARCA (1871-1942) worked first for a local firm of stonemasons in Wales, later securing a position with Norbury, Paterson & Co of Liverpool. In the early 1890s he enrolled at Liverpool School of Architecture and Applied Art. By 1904 he was Assistant Modelling Master at the School and in 1910 was appointed Modelling Master at Leicester School of Art. Four years later he bought Pearson and Shipley, a firm of stonemasons and monumental sculptors, which he renamed The Plasmatic Company. Thereafter he continued to work for the company as well as sculpting independently and teaching at the Leicester School of Art. He was responsible for a number of other war memorials, including those at Quorn, St Augustine’s Church, Edgbaston, and for Cortonwood Colliery.

Reasons for Listing

Aylestone War Memorial unveiled and dedicated 1921, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: it is a poignant reminder of the impact of tragic world events upon an individual community and, thus, has strong cultural and historical significance within both a local and national context;

* Architectural interest: as an elegant, accomplished and well-executed memorial by the notable designer J H Morcom;

* Group value: with the Grade II* listed Church of St Andrew (NHLE 1074054).

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