Midland Railway War Memorial, Derby

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Midland Railway War Memorial
England
Midland Railway Cenotaph & Catafalque
For The Great War
Unveiled 15 December 1921 (1921-12-15)
Location 52°54′56″N 1°27′53″W / 52.91556°N 1.46472°W / 52.91556; -1.46472
near Derby
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (architect)
Total commemorated
2833

The Midland Railway War Memorial was erected in 1921 to commemorate employees of the Midland Railway killed during The Great War. As the company had its Headquarters in Derby at the time, the memorial is located adjacent to Derby railway station, in front of the Midland Hotel on Midland Road. The Memorial cost £10958 in 1920 and was built by Parnell and Son.[1]

During the war, 22941 employees of the Company enlisted, 7068 were wounded and 2833 killed. The names of the dead are inscribed on the memorial and published in a contemporaneous book.[2] A copy of the book complete with a line drawing of the memorial was sent to the families of the dead along with a free travel pass to the parents, widows and children of the fallen in order to see the memorial.[3]

Design[edit]

It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens RA, who also designed the Cenotaph in Whitehall, Westminster, and the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval.

The memorial is a Cenotaph of Portland stone 31 feet in height, with semi-columns supporting the prostate body of a fighting man, laid to rest, on a catafalque mounted on the heads of four lions. The coat of arms of the Midland Railway sits inside a wreath located on either side. The inscription is carved at the front and reads

TO
THE BRAVE MEN
OF
THE
MIDLAND
RAILWAY
WHO GAVE
THEIR LIVES
IN
THE GREAT WAR

Midland Railway War Memorial -  Inscription

Each side is carved with MCM XIV † XIX (1914 - 1919)

The Cenotaph is flanked by a 7 foot high wall, set back from the road to form two rectangular alcoves, each 20 feet wide by 10 feet deep. Attached to the back wall of these alcoves are bronze plaques inscribed with the names of the 2833 dead with a small step in front, to allow children to view the names of the fallen close-up. The names are listed in alphabetical order with no indication of military rank or service.

On the 15 December 1921, a service of dedication was led by The Right Reverend Edwyn Hoskyns, then Bishop of Southwell and Mr. Charles Booth, Chairman of Midland Railways.[4]

The memorial was listed as Grade II by English Heritage on 24 February 1977 [5]

Bronze Theft[edit]

Two men were jailed in 2010 for stealing four bronze plaques from the Memorial.[6] The plaques were recovered [7] and restored by Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust at a cost of £18,000.[8] A service of re-dedication took place on 17 December 2010 using the original Prayer of Dedication from the 1921 service, read by the Rev James Lindsay.[9]

State of Preservation[edit]

The memorial is known locally only as “The Statue” and although the Cenotaph has been refurbished, the remainder of the site is neglected suffering from vandalism, litter and a general lack of care. As the site is North facing it remains damp, attracting moss which makes the whole area look dirty. The rear of the Memorial is overgrown with shrubbery from the adjacent hotel gardens and the surrounding area is rundown and impoverished.

Since 2002, responsibility for the maintenance of the memorial has lain with Network Rail.

References[edit]

External links[edit]