Boer War Memorial, Cannon Hill Park


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Boer War Memorial, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B5


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Statutory Address:
Boer War Memorial, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, B5

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Birmingham (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


A war memorial to the fallen of Birmingham in the Boer War, designed by Albert Toft and completed in 1906.

Reasons for Designation

The Boer War Memorial in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* DESIGN: The massing of the monument and its sculptural grouping are of high quality;

* SCULPTOR: The work of the Sculptor, Albert Toft, is highly considered;

* HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: As a monument to those who fell in the Boer war it is a relative rarity;

* SETTING: The monument sits well within the context of its landscape setting, which is included on the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens.


The area was laid out as a public park in the C19. Land was gifted for the purpose by Louisa Ann Ryland and the park was planned by John Gibson (1815-75), who had also laid out Victoria Park and Battersea Park in London. The Boer War memorial was not at first intended to be sited here, but the park was chosen in 1904 after Old Square and Corporation Street in the city centre had both been rejected. The Birmingham Daily Mail started a fund in 1903 for a memorial to the 521 soldiers who had died in South Africa. £2,000 was raised and a competition was held amongst fifteen invited sculptors. Toft's design was considered to combine elements of the real and the ideal. It was cast in London at Parlanti's foundry, using the cire-perdue method which allowed a finely detailed surface finish. The monument was unveiled by Lieutenant-General Sir Ian Hamilton on 23 June 1906.

In 2012 the memorial underwent cleaning and repairs, funded through the Grants for War Memorials scheme; as part of this project the missing wreath was restored as was some damage to the soldiers' bayonets.


A war memorial to the fallen of Birmingham in the Boer War, designed by Albert Toft and completed in 1906.

MATERIALS: the memorial has a pink granite pedestal, bearing a bronze sculpture with bronze plaques to its sides.

PLAN: the plinth has four buttresses, above which the base has dished sides, giving it a bell-shaped profile, which bear bronze plaques. This dies back by offsets to support the large bronze sculptural group which crowns the monument.

DETAILS: to the front the plaque shows two kneeling, weeping figures, representing Grief and Sympathy, at either side of a cartouche that has commemorative lettering in relief which reads: "TO / THE GLORIOUS MEMORY / OF THE / SONS OF BIRMINGHAM / WHO FELL IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR 1899-1902 / AND TO PERPETUATE / THE EXAMPLE OF ALL WHO / SERVED IN THE WAR / THIS MEMORIAL IS ERECTED / BY THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS". Names and ranks of the fallen are inscribed on plaques on the other three sides. To the top of the memorial is a large bronze sculpture, showing rocky ground on which is a cannon flanked by two soldiers, representing Courage and Endurance. Standing on top of the cannon is the robed figure of Peace who carries a shield on her left arm, showing the city arms and an olive branch. Her right hand holds a wreath.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Noszlopy, G T , Public Sculpture of Birmingham, (1998), 106
War Memorials Online, accessed 18 January 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 18 January 2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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