Keswick (including Roedean School WW2 Evacuees)
Near town centre
OS Grid Ref.: NY 26776 23514
Step surmounted by broad pedestal and cenotaph with pedimented top. Large honister slate tablet commemorating WW1 dead placed on the front face of the pedestal and two smaller tablets commemorating WW2 dead placed on the left and right hand sides. Relief of Victory in classical costume with sword on the front face of the cenotaph. During 2016, as part of post Storm Desmond reconstruction work (December 2015), new cast iron railings have been added to the rear of the cenotaph area.
6 OCLOCK FACE: TO KEEP FRESH THE MEMORY/ OF OUR BRAVE MEN WHO FELL/ IN THE GREAT WARS/ (NAMES) 3 AND 9 OCLOCK FACE: 1939 - 1945/ (NAMES) Railings-1914 1919 1939 1945
Names on memorial
Atkinson, T V
Birkbeck, C W
See details for all 160 names
First World War (1914-1918)
Total names on memorial: 109
Served and returned: 0
Exact count: yes
Information shown: surname, initials of forenames
Order of information: surname alphabetical order
Second World War (1939-1945)
Total names on memorial: 51
Served and returned: 0
Exact count: yes
Information shown: surname and initials of forenames
Order of information: surname
Measurements: depth 1400mm, height 5000mm, width 2440mm
Materials: Cast Iron
Date: 21st May 1922
Attended by: Lord Rochdale & Mr Walter Swinburn
Date: 21st May 1922
Attended by: Revd CH Lewin, Vicar of St John's Church
Date: 9th Nov 1947
Attended by: Mr FJ Aston (WW1 soldier) & Mr Edwin Evans (2nd son of Sergt Walter Evans) of the Blencathra Hotel, Keswick
Site: Unknown or N/A
Comments: The WW2 plaques were by public subscription, through the Keswick War Service Appreciation Fund-one of the purposes of this fund which raised money in 1944-1945.
Purpose: Unknown or N/A
Details: All the money was raised by public subscription. The appeal for the original estimated £4,000 cost was launched in June 1919. In the first week alone £950 was raised. There are weekly updates in the local newspaper 'The Keswick Reminder' detailing every contribution small and large. During the summer contributions dried up and the scheme was shelved in November 1919 (formerly in January 1920) when £1890/2/- had been raised. This scheme included provision for the education and maintenance of the circa 30 children of the town left fatherless, throughout their childhood, a grand carnival on the lake including flares from the local mountain, Skiddaw, a peace medal for each child of the town, and a grand homecoming meal for returning soldiers, sailors and airmen. The carnival and the peace medal were abandoned. The peace meal was fundraised for separately and held on 12 Feb 1920 at a cost of around £165. The occassion included a 'Smoking Concert'. The memorial scheme itself cost around £2,500 and was not restarted until October 1921 (part of the cause of the delay was that the sculptor became involved in other work after the 1919/1920 postponement. The educational scheme invested money for each war orphan with the interest to be used to aid the instruction of the children. Grants were to be made from the Capital either for each child to attend a Secondary School or to be apprenticed or for any other purpose that will further its educational interests. The trusteees represented the town, the Council and the schools.
Unknown or N/A
Lord Rochdale owned the large house 'Lingholm' at nearby Portinscale which was a VAD Hospital in WW1. Lord and Lady Rochdale were very active in the life of the Keswick area, and great philanthropists to the town. There was also an Oak [or Chestnut] Tree planted in Upper Fitz Park- supplied by Kew Gardens grown from seeds from an oak tree at Verdun (sent to Kew by the Mayor of Verdun in 1916). It was planted on 24th September 1921 by Viscount Ullswater. There was a dedicatory plate placed next to it. This tree has not existed for many years now, at least since 1997 according to the records of the town's Britain in Bloom committee of that year. It was on an open space near the croquet lawn. The figure of Victory, crowning a sheathed sword with a laurel wreath in memory of the dead, was carved in high relief. This was the work of Derwent Wood (1871-19th February 1926). He was born in at Eskin Place, Castlerigg, St John’s, Keswick, the fourth son of Alpheus Bayliss Wood of Philadelphia, USA, pencil mill manager, and Ann Mary Maw of Ironbridge, Shropshire. He was educated in Switzerland and Germany and began his artistic career at Karlsruhe, Germany. He enlisted in the Territorial Unit of the Royal Army Medical Corps soon after the the onset of World War One, and was given a commission a year later. His artistic genius was later utilised and he opened a special clinic, the Masks for Facial Development Disfigurement Department (1917-1919) located in the Third London General Hospital, Wandsworth, London. Each mask required many weeks of work. He constructed masks of thin metal, sculpted to match the portraits of the man in their pre-war normality. He also designed the Machine Gun Corps memorial at Hyde Park Corner (memorial 2129) There were originally 49 WW2 names, so two must have been added at a later date. Note that at the Keswick Country House Hotel (part of Keswick Old Railway Station) there is a school shield and a photograph of the whole school at the Hotel in 1940. While not war memorials as such they are worthy of note, as the whole school was evacuated to this hotel in 1940, and spent the rest of the war here. Both items were donated by the school on a 50th anniversary reunion in 1990. In the late 1920's there was considerable acrimony in the town (the opposition being led by the Royal British Legion and the ex-servicemen's association) over plans to open up access to the Cenotaph from Fitz Park. The construction of the new railings and a sensory garden (which will be planted throughout 2017) finally brings to an end that matter, as it has fully integrated the Cenotaph into Fitz Park, and has ultimately achieved the wishes of the townspeople, yet still retained the "sacredness of space" which was so important to the RBL.
Carter Postcard Collection
Many editions of 'The Keswick Reminder' newspaper between 6 June 1919 and 19 May 1922- the newspaper is indexed from 1915 to 1923, which is available on the Cumbria Archives website.
Planting of the tree- West Cumberland Times 17th August 1921 page 4 (refers to it as Oak) and the Keswick Reminder 16th September 1921 page 4 (refers to it as a Chestnut)
West Cumberland Times 24/5/1922 page 1f-h for clarification on the education scheme
West Cumberland Times 12/11/1947 page 4e
Carlisle Journal 16/8/1921 page 5c for the exact location of the Verdun Tree
Whitehaven News 25/2/1926 page 7b for an obituary of Derwent Wood RA
Roedean School Photograph at Keswick-http://2ndww.blogspot.co.uk/2007/12/roedean-school-at-keswick-war-years.html
Roedean School Shield at Keswick-http://2ndww.blogspot.co.uk/2007/12/roedean-school-shield-keswick-cumbria.html
Keswick Reminder 4/2/1949 page 3c for the death of Wilfrid G Haworth FRSA (1886-1949), a professional photographer who served in that capacity in WW1, was badly gassed and lay in no-mans land for over 12 hours. He became well klnown especially for his Lake District Photography
Book-Keswick in the Great War by Ruth Mansergh (published Pen & Sword, 2016)
'The Keswick Reminder' newspaper is indexed from 1 Sep 1939 to 31 Dec 1955 and will be available on the Cumbria Archives website from late February 2017
https://blackcablondon.net/2013/10/13/ww1-100-londons-memorials-the-machine-gun-corps-the-man-who-mended-faces/ (for more on Francis Derwent Wood)
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