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Stalybridge War Memorial


Stalybridge War MemorialSite:

At Northern end of Trinity Street, at the point it meets Market Street. When built, the memorial faced the now-demolished Stalybridge Town Hall. The two halves of the edifice back onto Victoria Bridge which crosses the River Tame.

History:

Stalybridge War Memorial was inaugurated on November 6, 1921 and 24,000 people virtually the population of the town attended the ceremony. The Great War tablets bear the names of 628 men.

The memorial takes the form of a picturesque bridgehead, in the shape of eclipse, over the tame at the entrance to Trinity Street. It comprises two pedestals, each 10ft high, either side of Trinity Street, and each pedestal bears an 8ft high bronze figure.

The original memorial measures 110ft from wing to wing. The wing walls are 5ft high and terminate at secondary pedestals topped by lions crouching. The names are carved on polished granite, and the base of a memorial is finished with a border of fluorite spar, 2ft in width, with a low kerb so that wreaths may be propped up.

It was sculpted by F.B. Blundstone of south Kensington, a native of Stalybridge, and cost £4,200. From the left, the minor pedestal bears a lion and the words France, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Egypt, East Africa. The wing wall then leads to the navy pedestal, topped by an angel ministering to a dying sailor whose cap bears the name Good Hope.

The pedestal bears the town coat of arms, in stone and, written on it is: 1914 1918. Jutland, Zeebrugge. The Falkland Isles. Remember the love of them who came not home from the war. See you to it that they shall not have died in vain.

On the other side of Trinity Street is the army pedestal, topped by an angel ministering to a dying soldier. It too bears the coat of arms, plus the inscription: 1914 1918. The Marne, Ypres, The Somme. All you who pass by remember with gratitude the men of Stalybridge who died for you. Before the memorial was extended, at the end of the Second World War, a second Lion crouching topped a pedestal bearing the words: Flanders, Gallipoli, Salonika, Italy, S.W. Africa.

At the ceremony of dedication, which began at 3 o'clock. The Mayor of Stalybridge, Councillor Mrs Ada Summers, unveiled the army pedestal, and Alderman James Bottomley, Mayor during the war, unveiled the navy pedestal. Ex-Private Ernest Sykes V.C. of Mossley, but of a Stalybridge family, laid a wreath on behalf of the Stalybridge Branch of the British legion of Ex-Servicemen.

The memorial was dedicated by the Rural Dean of Mottram, Canon T.H. Sheriff. A choir of 400 voices from all the town's churches was present and, after the ceremony, the memorial was covered with flowers. The extension to the memorial was unveiled on April 23, 1950 in front of a crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 people.

It cost  £2,400, and the new tablet is linked to the old one by means of bronze railings which stand in front of a small garden of remembrance adding a touch of colour to the white sameness of the curving masonry.

The railings bear the towns coat of arms, and the inscription: May their deeds be held in reverence. To the right of the railings is a tablet bearing the inscription: 1939 1945. On land, On sea, and in the air, at home and abroad.

Further to the right is a pedestal onto which the right-hand lion crouching has been removed. It bears the words: 1939 1945 Now heaven is by the young invaded. Their laughter's in the house of God. The words are taken from Katherine Tynan's poem Flower of youth.

The extension was unveiled by Mrs Gertrude Monday of 128, Mottram Road, a lady who had lost her husband in the Great War, and her son in the second war. Alderman L. Harris, the Mayor laid the first wreath, followed by Lord Leverhulme, the lord lieutenant of Cheshire. Prayers of thanksgiving and dedication were led by the mayors chaplain, the Rev. John Winn.