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Borough War Memorial


Site:

On Werneth Low, a Hill overlooking Hyde. It stands on the topmost part of Hacking Knife, 800ft above sea level, facing north.

The memorial is more than just a stone obelisk. The land around some 154 acres was also acquired in memory of the fallen and for the resort and recreation of the inhabitants of Hyde, and for promoting the health of the community. Mr T Hall gave land off Mottram Old Road, valued at £500, but the majority was bought with the money raised by the public subscription.

About £14,000 was raised, £4,000 being spent to buy the lower Higham Estate, and £2,000 to build the memorial. The money was also used to help the children of the fallen through scholarships and maintenance grants, and to convert nearby Aspland House (now demolished) into a maternity home.

The obelisk and surrounding land now form apart of Werneth Low Country Park, administered by Tameside Metropolitan Borough and the Hyde War Memorial Trust.  It is reached by various tracks, the most popular being from the Werneth Low Visitor Centre, Higham Lane.

Description:

The Memorial, an Obelisk, is made from grey Cornish Granite taken from the same quarries as that used for the cenotaph in London.

It stands on a foundation of Portland cement 13ft square and 3ft 9ins deep. It is laid on the natural rock formation of the site. The inner area of the six base courses is filled in with cement concrete.

The base is finished with pick-dressed face, and the front inscriptions are in black on fine oxide surfaces with polished panels. The blocks in the Obelisk are finished with natural hewn surface with a picked-dressed weathered finish. The blocks are bedded in Portland cement.

Lettering on the inscription block is deeply cut into the sunk panels, filled in with lead and left raised from the surface and polished.

The borough coat of arms on the front face is cast in bronze from a sculptor's special model. It is 1ft 6ins in diameter, secured to the inscription block with bronze dovetail lugs.

Two sets of railings surround the monument. One set made of wrought iron and featuring eight wreathes, painted red, is round the actual base. Another set, about 20 yards square, encompasses the memorial area as a whole. The lower base course is 12ft 6ins square, and the final block is 2ft square. The total height of the Obelisk above ground is 27ft 6ins. It comprises 34 tons of granite.

The memorial was designed by Messrs J. Whitehead and Sons, Sculptors. Imperial works, Kensington Oval, London, and selected by the memorial committee from 40 designs. It was by Whitehead's under the supervision of the Borough Surveyor's Department.

Its inscriptions are as follows:

Front:

The Borough coat of arms in bronze and, in the stone:  The Great War 1914-1919

Left: 

They willing left the unachieved purpose of their lives in order that all life should not be wrenched from its purpose

Right:

in honour of the 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives for King and Country

On the back of the memorial is a metal plate bearing the inscription: In memory of the men and women of Hyde who lost their lives I the war 1939-1945

History: 

The Werneth Low memorial was unveiled on 25 June, 1921, in front of a crowd of 15,000 people.

The six wooden panels bearing the names of the town's dead were taken from the town hall and, for the unveiling ceremony, placed around the base of the memorial.

Kingston Mills band entertained the crowds by playing patriotic airs, and a one-hour service followed. It began with the singing of Oh God Our Help In Ages Past.

Prayers were led by the Rev JP Richmond, after which the Mayor of Hyde, Alderman Squire Fawley, read a letter from Colonel Sir John Wood MP, apologising he could not be present.

Mrs Evelyn Welch, Mayoress during the war, unveiled the monument after which Rev HE Dowson of Hyde Chapel said the dedicatory Prayer. Chopin's Funeral March and Kipling's Land of Our Birth followed.

Next, Councillor Bury, Chairman of the war memorial committee, presented the Mayor with the deeds to the land.  Lord for All Mankind We Pray was the closing hymn, and the Rev JW Duthie gave the benediction. The ceremony closed with the last post and the National Anthem.

TN Bedford conducted the singing, the Rev. H.J. Graham Announced the hymns and the Chief Constable of Hyde, J.W. Danby, was chief marshal. St George's bell ringers rang a muffled peal of 5,000 changes.

The Second World War plate was unveiled on May 5, 1963, by the Mayor, Councillor John Grundy. It commemorates 162 servicemen and women and 12 civilians.

The Band Of The 8th Ardwick Battalion Manchester regiment T.A. led the procession.

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