An Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial

What form should a county-wide memorial take?

1 September 1919

The suggestions as to the form of the memorial put forward by Lady Wantage, Alderman Cox, Brigadier General Wigan, Mr Bartholomew of the Oxford Street Social Club and Lt Col Walsh were considered. None of the suggestions were regarded favourably and the meeting discussed generally what kind of memorial would seem most suitable having regard to the fact that a County Memorial was wanted.

Schemes of a utilitarian nature were favoured by Alderman Martin and also by Councillor Quelch, but each referred to the question of a scheme of the kind having a limited radius of usefulness and could not benefit the whole county. Mr F G Belcher suggested that an Institution in which disabled sailors and soldiers could be taught crafts and trades and thus become able to do useful work would be the best form of memorial. He alluded to the monotony of the lives of these poor men, and the need to do everything possible to provide them with interests in life. As an alternative he suggested the establishment of an Orphanage to benefit the children of the men who had fallen in the war. The Chairman pointed out that in any such Institution the question of endowments to provide an income for its maintenance must be met and also that the need of either kind of Institution would pass away within a limited number of years.

It was proposed by Councillor Quelch and seconded by Alderman Martin, “that in all the circumstances and having regard to the fact that no scheme of a utilitarian nature would be likely to benefit the whole county, this Committee is compelled to fall back on the proposal to erect a suitable monument as a permanent memorial in commemoration of the sailors and soldiers of Berkshire who had lost their lives in the war”. Passed unanimously.

Councillor Quelch proposed and Alderman Martin seconded “that the architects of Berkshire be invited to assist the Committee by submitting, voluntarily, sketch plans of such designs as would in their opinion be suitable for the purpose required.” Passed unanimously.

It was mentioned that some 8000 to 10000 names would require to be inscribed.

The question of site was spoken of, and Councillor Quelch undertook to bring the subject forward at the next meeting of the Markets and Estates Committee of the [Reading] Town Council who would no doubt consider the possibility of assisting the project by offering sites which might be suitable for the building of the monument.

The Secretary was requested to ascertain the terms upon which the triangular piece of land at the junction of Caversham Road and Friar Street could be acquired in the event of its being a fitting position for the memorial.

Berkshire War Memorial Committee minutes (R/D134/3/1)

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