Architect: Lionel Bailey Budden
Sculptor: Herbert Tyson Smith
Liverpool Cenotaph was erected as a memorial those who had fallen in the First World War [1914-1919]. Following the end of the Second World War, the dates 1939 and 1945 were added, in a ceremony in 1946.
The location of the Cenotaph on St George’s Plateau was crucial in deciding its appearance, it was felt that a horizontal monument would complement the towering St George’s Hall in the background. The architect Lionel Budden’s design was chosen because of its “dignity, simplicity and reserve” that suggested an “idea of permanence and immovability”. The cenotaph consists of a rectangular block of stone on a stone platform, with bronze, low-relief sculptures on the sides.
Dr Jackson said, click here.. “At the time the cenotaph was designed, Professor Budden was trying to promote a style called the Liverpool manner. It was a combination of modernism and ancestry. He was looking for a modern way of designing without completely rejecting the classical tradition… St George’s Hall forms the backdrop – can you imagine trying to design something in the shadow of St George’s Hall – but he pulled it off. The pieces of sculpture on either side of it look progressive and quite radical; it looks strong and fits in its context.”
The long bronze reliefs on the memorial were sculpted by George Herbert Tyson Smith, the panel facing St George’s Hall depicts an army on the move in a long march, while the panel on the Lime Street side has depiction of loss and grief as mourners are lying wreath on the Stone of Remembrance.
Dates 1914-1919 are inscribed on the ends of the memorial. The dates 1939-1945 were inscribed in 1946 to mark World War II. The unveiling took place on Armistice Day 1930, shortly before the two minute silence at 11am.
Building work on the Cenotaph began in 1927, the main body of the memorial was largely complete by 1928 but the sculpted bronze reliefs took longer to finish.
In 1952, the Cenotaph was Grade 2 listed in 1952, but was reassessed by English Heritage and in 2013, it was designated a Grade I listed building status. The Liverpool Cenotaph joins just two other Grade 1 listed memorials in the UK. The Victoria Park Cenotaph in Leicester, first listed in 1955 and the Cenotaph in Whitehall, first listed in 1970. Roger Bowdler, Designation Director at English Heritage said: “The Liverpool Cenotaph is a remarkable monument, combining the highest quality of design and artistry with a dignified and painfully poignant memorial to the losses suffered by the people of Liverpool. It fully deserves this designation at the highest grade”.
Relief sculpture illustrates the mourners lying wreath on the Stone of Remembrance. Above the panel is the inscription: “To the men of Liverpool who fell in the great war”, with an added inscription below it reads, “and all who have fallen in conflict since”. Under the panel inscription is: “And the victory that day was turned into mourning unto all the people”.
Relief sculpture illustrates the marching troops. “As unknown and yet well known as dying and behold we live”. Below is the inscription: “Out of north parts a great company and mighty army”.
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