Liverpool Cenotaph to be one of three Grade I war memorials for World War I centenary

By Culture24 Reporter | 14 November 2013

Liverpool's central war memorial, the Cenotaph, will be given Grade I listing status in an English Heritage campaign as part of the centenary of World War I in 2014

A photo of a large stone war memorial bearing bronze depictions outside a town hall
Liverpool's Cenotaph will be Grade I listed© John Bradley
Starting with the Liverpool Cenotaph, the memorial of bronze carvings which is a focal point for Armistice Day, English Heritage expects to list up to 2,500 war memorials between now and 2019. Although the precise number of war memorials across the country is unclear, the National Heritage List for England currently cites 1,300 – a fraction of which are listed.

Built in 1930, Liverpool’s will become one of only three Grade-I listed war memorials, alongside the Cenotaph in Whitehall and a memorial in Leicester’s Victoria Park.

“It combines the highest quality of design and artistry with a dignified and painfully poignant memorial to the losses suffered by the people of Liverpool,” said Roger Bowdler, the Designation Director at English Heritage, calling the Cenotaph “a remarkable monument”. “It fully deserves this designation at the highest grade.”

Bowdler admitted that the task of researching, recording and recommending so many sites would be “a major task”, but added that the group would be “proud” to embark on its mission.

“These memorials will gain a place on the National Heritage List for England to tell the story of this country’s sacrifice and struggle,” he said.

Only one in 40 listed sites are given Grade I status. “The Liverpool Cenotaph has great historic significance in illustrating the effort and sacrifice of the city of Liverpool and the heroism of those who fought in the First World War,” said Maria Miller, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

“This centenary [of World War I, in 2014] comes at a point where living memory becomes written history, so it is absolutely essential that our work to mark it speaks clearly to young people in particular.

“War memorials are a precious part of our heritage that keeps alive the ultimate sacrifice that so many made.”

The Cenotaph stands near St George’s Hall, which also has Grade I status. Miller called on residents across the country to ensure their local war memorials were in “good condition”, promising support from English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and volunteers at the War Memorials Trust in areas where memorials had become dilapidated.

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