Type War Memorial
War memorial, with central cenotaph, crowned with group of statuary, the whole on plinth with two bronze lions at either side of the central cenotaph. The crowning group comprises a wounded soldier and the figure of Peace who is taking the sword of honour from his hand. The base is decorated with military equipment representing the services.(1)
A public meeting was held on 7 February 1919 in Ashton Town Hall to consider what form the war memorial would take. The meeting agreed on two points: that the memorial should be representative of all and "not of any sect," and that there should be a monument in a public place to honour the town's dead. Present at the meeting were the Mayor and several councillors, the Town Clerk, local military and church men along with several others, "including a large number of ladies, many of whom were in mourning." Several suggestions were put forward, including the extension of the District Infirmary, a Y.M.C.A., a memorial chapel in the Parish Church and a memorial garden including open spaces for children. These were all recognised as worthy projects, but as J.C.M. Turner pointed out to the meeting "the lady at the back of the room had struck the right feeling of many of them by saying that the memorial should be one solely in recognition of the boys who had given up their lives." It was eventually resolved that a memorial to Ashton's dead should be erected in the borough and a committee was appointed on the nomination of the Town Council. "Artistic direction" was offered to the committee by J. H. Cronshaw, the art master at the Hegginbottom School of Art in Ashton.(2)
The initial contract for the memorial was given to Cronshaw and his colleague in the Art department at the Hegginbottom School, J.L. Robinson. Their design proposed a central bronze statue of St. George and the dragon placed on a cylindrical pedestal. This would be flanked by two curved walls interrupted by four pilasters to each side of the statue. Between each pilaster would be a bronze panel containing the roll of honour. In front of the walls would be a raised section with three flights of steps a either end and in the centre. The central steps were to be flanked with two recumbent lions, one laying down with a lamb and the other with its paw on the head of a serpent. The cost was estimated at around £10,000, more than twice the price of the Stalybridge memorial, and perhaps gives a clue as to why this somewhat grandiose design was ultimately rejected.
The final design by Howard and Floyd did include the lions, but vastly reduced the horizontal size of the memorial. It was unveiled by General Sir Ian Hamilton on 16 September 1922 and dedicated by the Rev. W. A. Parry. Wreaths were laid by four girls whose fathers had fallen in the war.
[need some more on unveiling-speeches, etc?]
Men of Ashton who fell in World War I.
38 bronze panels containing WWI roll of honour, each with 40 names, giving total of 1,512. Roll of Honour of WWII on two panels at extreme left and right of memorial.
Bronze tablet on front: ERECTED IN HONOUR OF THE MEN OF/ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE AND DISTRICT/WHO FOUGHT FOR KING AND EMPIRE IN/THE GREAT WAR, ESPECIALLY THOSE/WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES, AND/ WHOSE NAMES ARE RECORDED HEREON/1914-1919./
On left hand side: 1939-45
On front of central column: Four panels, reading downwards, BELGIUM/FRANCE/GALLIPOLI/EGYPT/ITALY
PMSA recording information