Liverpool Cenotaph

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Reference WMO/121229


St George's Hall,

Lime Street,

City Centre,


L1 1JJ


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Status: On original site
Type: Freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Roadside
Description: Cenotaph
  • Metal Bronze
  • Stone Stone (any)
Lettering: Inscribed on a plaque
  • First World War (1914-1918)
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: The memorial cenotaph has long metal plaques on the east and west face which show servicemen heading to war. The conflict dates are located on the north and south faces. Historic England listing entry - First World War cenotaph, 1927-30, by Lionel Budden, with Second World War dates added later. Simple rectangular block of Stancliffe stone with low-relief bronze sculptures of marching soldiers and mourners by Herbert Tyson Smith. PLAN: Liverpool Cenotaph is located to the centre of the Plateau and is aligned north-east - south-west, mirroring the alignment of the adjacent St George's Hall, which lies to the west. The Cenotaph's simple rectangular shape, which is 35ft long, references an altar or tomb, and it is set upon a 61ft-long platform of Yorkshire Silex stone with its long sides to each north-west and south-east face. The platform was designed to provide an effective setting for the Cenotaph and also a protected space for wreaths, and has terminal blocks at each end with low steps set in between accessing the Cenotaph. NORTH-WEST FACE: this face fronting St George's Hall incorporates a bronze panel over 31ft (9.4m) long in low relief, which is replicated on the Cenotaph's opposite face with different imagery. The panel, which represents 'the march to action of the fighting services', depicts a continuous stream of marching troops in serried ranks moving collectively like automata, their dress, weapons and equipment denoting the different armed forces, and all with similar facial characteristics so that they are barely individualised; reflecting both the vast numbers of the dead and also the unity of the nation. Above the relief is the inscription: 'AS. UNKNOWN. AND. YET. WELL. KNOWN. AS. DYING. AND. BEHOLD. WE. LIVE' (II Corinthians 6: 9), whilst below the relief is the inscription: 'OUT. OF. THE. NORTH. PARTS. A. GREAT. COMPANY. AND. A. MIGHTY. ARMY' (Ezekiel 38: 15). Set to the bottom left corner of the relief is the signature 'THE MORRIS-SINGER CO/ LONDON SWI/ FOUNDERS'. NORTH-EAST & SOUTH-WEST FACES: these end faces of the Cenotaph are identically styled with each one incorporating a symbol of defence to the centre, consisting of a large, circular bronze shield bearing the coat of arms of Liverpool with festoons below. The dates '1914 1919' are inscribed below in stylised numerals and a later inscription above in the same style records the dates '1939 1945'; the date 1919 is recorded because although hostilities ceased on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, peace settlements with Germany and her allies were not signed until 28 June 1919, with Britain's 'Peace Day' Victory Parade taking place on 19 July 1919. SOUTH-EAST FACE: this face fronting Lime Street incorporates a bronze panel representing the commemoration of Armistice Day. The panel depicts mourners of all ages in contemporary 1920s dress grouped around a Stone of Remembrance where they are laying flowers and wreaths with their heads bowed, an elderly man stifling a sob as they advance forward. The background imagery depicts row upon row of war graves in a military cemetery, which recede into the distance and infinity. Above the relief is the inscription: 'TO. THE. MEN. OF. LIVERPOOL. WHO. FELL. IN. THE. GREAT. WAR', whilst an additional later inscription immediately below reads 'AND. ALL. WHO. HAVE. FALLEN. IN. CONFLICT. SINCE'. Below the relief is the inscription: 'AND. THE. VICTORY. THAT. DAY. WAS. TURNED. INTO. MOURNING. UNTO. ALL. THE. PEOPLE' (II Samuel 19: 2). Set to the bottom left corner of the relief is the signature 'LIONEL E BUDDEN ARCHITECT', with 'H. TYSON SMITH SCULPTOR' set to the bottom right corner.
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