As we move to within a fortnight of the centenary of the Armistice, this week our Centenary Fields Legacy campaign featured spaces covering the length and breadth of the UK – from Cornwall to the Highlands and from Norfolk to Antrim.
The Centenary Fields programme is being delivered in partnership with The Royal British Legion who this week launched their 2018 Poppy Appeal. The appeal began on Thursday as they unveiled a series of installations across the UK encouraging people to say 'Thank You' to those who fought and fell during World War I. To coincide with the launch, on Thursday Centenary Fields Legacy showcased Town Green in Selston, Nottinghamshire.
Until recently the village didn't have a visible memorial to the fallen and with the centenary approaching it was decided one was needed, with Town Green chosen as a suitable location. The memorial was dedicated in the corner of the triangular shaped Green in July 2014 committing in stone the names of local people who fell during both World Wars. It belongs to the people of Selston who can use this area as a place for personal remembrance and reflection.
Whilst the memorial in Selston may not have been dedicated until a century after the Armistice, the first memorial at Islington Memorial Green (Friday) in London was actually unveiled sixteen days prior to the cessation of conflict. It was a century ago on Friday that Islington's "War Shrine" was dedicated, a ceremony still available to view in a British Pathé video.
The War Shrine was only ever intended to be a temporary monument, to be replaced after the Armistice, but in fact stood until July 2006 before it was replaced. The new memorial is a twisted circle carved from a single piece of granite, resting on a wall and remains a focal point for the Borough's Remembrance events.
The majority of memorials, however, were dedicated in the years immediately following the end of the war as was the case at Tower Gardens (Tuesday) in King's Lynn. The space itself was laid out in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of Fields in Trust's founder, King George V. The gardens surround Greyfriars Tower, the most attractive and complete of only three remaining Franciscan friaries that existed in England prior to the 1538 suppression. The memorial was unveiled on 26th January 1921 by HRH Princess Mary to commemorate the 563 people from King's Lynn who gave their lives during World War I.
Also originally opened to commemorate a coronation was Slaney Piece (Monday) in Dawley, which was laid out in 1902 to mark the accession to the throne of King Edward VII. As the Centenary Fields Legacy campaign has been showcasing, many memorial spaces don’t have a formal monument in the traditional sense. Slaney Piece is home to memorial gates, donated by The Royal British Legion following the conclusion of World War II. The structure has the inscription "Dawley War Memorial" plus the dates of the two World Wars across the top and each gate features a wreath with a ribbon.
Likewise, Ypres Park Memorial Gardens (Wednesday) in Antrim are not home to a memorial structure but are themselves the memorial to local people who fell during both World Wars and subsequent conflicts. The space is named after the Battle of Ypres which took place in October and November 1914 around the Belgian city of Ypres and was donated to the local council by the Irish Sailors and Soldiers Land Trust as part of VE and VJ day commemorations in 1995. Six trees were planted in memory of those residents who gave their lives and each year a remembrance service is held.
£3 would have covered the cost of a month's worth of tea for an army battalion at 1918 prices. If you would like to help us continue our work to protect valuable parks and green spaces, please text CFLF18 £3 to 70070 to donate to Fields in Trust and make a difference today.
The week ended with stories from the very south and very north of the UK. Camborne Recreation Ground (Saturday) yesterday hosted a Cornwall versus Devon rugby match, remembering a series of matches which took place behind the Front Line a hundred years ago between men from the two counties. Many of the Cornishmen who took part were from Camborne RFC, the club that supplied the ball and which plays at Camborne Recreation Ground. The final match was won by the Cornishmen by a try to nil and Private Ernest Fletcher commented in a letter to his family that: "This match was played on Whit Monday and instead of having the privilege of listening to the bands in Camborne, we had the music of the guns".
Demonstrating the impact the Great War had on the entirety of the UK, the week then concluded in the Scottish Highlands with the featuring of Bonar Bridge War Memorial Field (Sunday). This unique and picturesque space is home to a magnificent war memorial which was unveiled on 28th February 1923. The memorial features a Highland solider in bonnet and kilt with rifle resting at ease set on a stone plinth and stepped base. Listed are the names of 46 people from the area who fell during World War I, categorised by their home village.
Next week Centenary Fields Legacy moves into the final of our four theme weeks, where all seven spaces featured will be or include memorials to the fallen. Don't forget to visit our interactive online map at 11 am each day to discover the story of the latest featured space and explore those already showcased. You can also learn more about the Centenary Fields programme and The Royal British Legion's "Thank You" campaign as well as find out how you can get involved.
Take a tour of the spaces already featured as part of Centenary Fields Legacy
A round-up of the seven spaces featuring during the eleventh week of Centenary Fields Legacy
The tenth week of Centenary Fields Legacy featured spaces which served the war effort
Centenary Fields Legacy:
Angela Lewis introduces the campaign and what to expect over the coming weeks