National Recording Project

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Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

POST OFFICE PEACE MEMORIAL

Summary

Type War Memorial

     War memorial. Group of three figures with winged victory at the centre, holding flaming torch in rh and flanked by figures of a boy and a girl. All three walking over symbols of war (a helmet, sword and dead serpent).
     This memorial was raised in memory of the men of the Manchester Post Office who died fighting in the First World War. The comparatively slow collection of funds among local post office workers may help to explain why the memorial was perceived as a peace rather than as a more conventional war memorial. It was not finally completed until almost a decade after the Armistice. The organising committee made it clear that the memorial should be one that emphasised peace not war, the causes of the First World War being rooted in 'jealousy, intrigue and armaments' resulting in 'unmeasured havoc in all combatant countries'. Peace was 'something for which men and women must strive without ceasing'. The Manchester sculptor, John Ashton Floyd was given the commission for the sculpture. His models included a local child, Bill Reeves, whom Floyd had seen playing in the street close to his studio in Plymouth Grove. The memorial was placed in the main hall of the city's new post office in Spring Gardens where, in March 1929, it was unveiled by the Reverend Dr F. W. Norwood of the City Temple. In a ceremony in which the music was provided by the Postmen's Military Band and an eighty- strong staff choir, Norwood spoke of the memorial as 'beautifully, reverently dedicated to peace.' It was in keeping with the message inscribed on the pedestal- 'Strive For Peace' that among the guests was the German consul. The memorial was, according to the Evening Chronicle, "a constant reminder of the necessity to seek peace."(1) The peace memorial remained in Spring Gardens until the 1960s when redevelopment resulted in its removal and re-location outside the entrance of the city's parcel office in St Andrew's Street, near Piccadilly Station. Following the closure of that office in 1995, it was transferred to its present, more public position, at the entrance to the city's main sorting office on Oldham Road. The Manchester Post Office Peace Memorial was re-dedicated by Christopher Mayfield, Bishop of Manchester, in April 1997, the ceremony attracting a far smaller number of people than the 3,000 who had gathered to see it unveiled in 1929.
     Manchester post office workers who fell in both world wars.

Inscriptions

Front of Pedestal (facing road): STRIVE FOR/ENDURING PEACE/1914-1918 1939-45/TO THE MEMORY OF/THE MEN OF/MANCHESTER POST OFFICE/WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/FOR THEIR COUNTRY

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Floyd, J. Ashton Sculptor

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Figures Bronze 210cm high (largest figure)
Pedestal Granite 102cm high x 137cm wide x 100cm deep
Base Brick 300cm diameter

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
MR/MCR108 MR
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Previous treatments
Structural condition
  • Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
Vandalism
  • None
Road Oldham Road
Precise location At entrance to post office, Oldham Road
A-Z ref p. 159 C3
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design None
Year of unveiling 1929
Unveiling details 17 March 1929
Commissioned by Post Office
Duty of care Post Office
Listing status Not listed
At risk? Not at risk

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