Southend-on-Sea War Memorial
List Entry Summary
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
Name: Southend-on-Sea War Memorial
List entry Number: 1322329
Clifftown Parade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1EE
The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District Type: Unitary Authority
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first listed: 23-Aug-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 28-Oct-2015
Legacy System Information
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System: LBS
This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.
List entry Description
Summary of Building
First World War memorial by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, 1921, with later inscriptions.
Reasons for Designation
Southend-on-Sea War Memorial, situated on Clifftown Parade and unveiled in 1921, 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; * Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944), who designed 58 memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall; * Design quality: a simple yet elegant obelisk incorporating carved decoration and two heavily detailed, painted stone flags, overlooking the Thames estuary.
The great wave of memorial building after the First World War resulted in thousands of commemorative monuments being raised both at home and on the battlefield. Lutyens was the most outstanding designer to work in this field. This is one of six obelisks designed by Lutyens, sharing a broadly similar design. This was the earliest whilst the latest was at Northampton, raised in 1926.
The RIBA holds a drawing by Lutyens of an earlier scheme showing a cenotaph surmounted by an urn, similar to his design of the Royal Berkshire Regiment Cenotaph in Brock Barracks, Reading, and surrounded by lamps. The eventual scheme with the obelisk and flags cost £5,521 15s and was unveiled by Lord Lambourne, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, on 27 November 1921, and dedicated by the Bishop of Chelmsford, in front of a large gathering. D Company, 6th Essex Regiment, formed the guard of honour. A memorial tablet bearing 1,338 names of the fallen was erected at Prittlewell Priory (now part of Southend Museums).
Later commemorative plaques, and inscribed dates commemorating the Second World War, have been added to the memorial.
Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.
MATERIALS: Portland stone, bronze plaques and fittings.
DESCRIPTION: The memorial stands in an elevated position above The Cliffs, overlooking the Thames estuary to the south. The plan for the garden in front of the memorial, alongside Clifftown Parade, was also by Lutyens.
The memorial comprises a tapered obelisk, c11m tall, with a square base incorporating a moulded cornice set upon a square pedestal rising in six unequal sections. The lowest section is incorporated into low surrounding walls forming an enclosure, incorporating a flight of six broad steps, a platform and two further steps approaching the monument from the north. Bronze mounts for flags are fixed at either end of the surrounding wall.
The north face of the base of the obelisk bears a carved stone laurel wreath. On either side, painted stone flags rise from the lower stage of the pedestal. The Union Flag flanks the west side and the White Ensign, the east. The inscriptions are carved into the north side of the memorial:
(base of obelisk) MCM/ XIV/ +/ MCM/ XIX
(upper tier of pedestal) MCMXXXIX/ +/ MCMXLV
(central tier of pedestal) OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD
(lower tier of pedestal) THE NAMES OF THE 1338 MEN OF/ SOUTHEND-ON-SEA/ IN HONOURED MEMORY OF WHOM/ THIS MEMORIAL/ WAS ERECTED BY GRATEFUL RESIDENTS/ ARE RECORDED UPON A TABLET/ PLACED IN THE REFECTORY AT/ PRITTLEWELL PRIORY
(lowest tier of pedestal) AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN/ AND IN THE MORNING/ WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
A later metal plaque added to the pedestal, below the record of the roll of honour at Prittlewell Priory, reads THIS PLAQUE IS DEDICATED TO/ THE MEN AND WOMEN OF SOUTHEND/ WHO HAVE SERVED THEIR COUNTRY/ IN ALL WARS AND CONFLICTS/ TO PRESERVE PEACE AND FREEDOM/ FOR ALL./ WE WILL REMEMBER THEM/ FUNDED BY SOUTHEND-ON-SEA BOROUGH COUNCIL/ ON BEHALF OF THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION (SOUTHEND BRANCH)/ 1998.
A small metal plaque raised by the Jewish Association of Ex-Servicemen and Women, placed on the north-facing pier at the east end of the wall, reads AJEX/ SOUTHEND & DISTRICT BRANCH/ IN MEMORY OF OUR FALLEN COMRADES/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE/ OF THEIR COUNTRY.
The garden between the memorial and Clifftown Parade comprises flower beds and paths, enclosed by low chains suspended from bollards. The admonition LEST WE FORGET is picked out in Portland stone in the lawn in front of the memorial. A hedge separates the memorial from the cliff-top footpath to the south.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 02/11/2015
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, 12 January 2017.
Books and journals
Skelton, T, Gliddon, G, Lutyens and the Great War, (2008), 74-5, 176
War Memorials Online, accessed 12 January 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/166311
War Memorials Register, accessed 01/09/2015 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/22576
"Southend's Obelisk", The Chelmsford Chronicle, 2 December 1921, p6
National Grid Reference: TQ8768985184
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End of official listing