Forbury Hill “not really suitable for the erection of a War Memorial such as would be worthy of the great events which it was now proposed to commemorate”

There was considerable debate over a proposed Berkshire war memorial. This project never came to fruition, as not enough money was raised, and the committee folded in 1922. However, in 1930 a former serviceman who was elected mayor of Reading revived it.

17 November 1919

The secretary reported that Dr Stewart Abram, Mayor of Reading, had acceded to the request to join the committee [and was present at this meeting]. He also reported the death of Mr H C Mylne and it was agreed that Mr Martin, the newly elected Mayor of Wokingham, be asked to take the vacant place on the committee.

The secretary reported that the Town Clerk had written saying that the application for the Forbury Hill site had been considered by the Parks & Pleasure Grounds Committee, and that they have recommended the Town Council to accede to the application of the Berkshire War Memorial Executive Committee. The recommendation above will be considered by the Council on the 4th December.

The site of the Forbury Hill selected for the memorial was criticised by Mr Bates, who pointed out that in all probability the Hill was itself a memorial and that it was not really suitable for the erection of a War Memorial such as would be worthy of the great events which it was now proposed to commemorate. Considerable discussion took place, and it was suggested that a much better position could be found in the Forbury Gardens at the Victoria Gate. Mr Bates moved and Mr Howell seconded

“that the Town Clerk should be informed that on re-consideration and after an inspection of the Forbury Hill and Gardens the Committee feel that it would be undesirable to interfere with the amenities of what they understand is really an Historical Monument. Moreover the Committee finds that any suitable monument erected on the Hill would necessitate much re-modelling of the Gardens and interference with the existing arrangements. In the circumstances the Committee request that the application made in the secretary’s letter of the 24th October be not put forward at the Town Council meeting on the 4th December.”

This was approved unanimously. The secretary was instructed to intimate that a fresh application for another site in the near neighbourhood will probably be forthcoming later on.

The Committee visited the Forbury Gardens in connection with a suggestion made by Mr Bates, supported by Councillor Howell and others, and it was ultimately decided that Mr Benyon, Mr Bates and Councillor Howell be appointed a Sub-committee to prepare a plan of the site in question in order that the matter may be further considered at the next committee meeting.

The secretary reported the issue of posters & record cards as agreed at the last meeting, and the question was raised as to the persons whose names should be recorded. Colonel Barker moved that “the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Men who were serving in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Territorial battalions of the Berkshire Forces when the war broke out, be deemed to be Berkshire men for the purpose of the memorial”. The resolution was seconded by Mr Bates and passed.

The secretary was instructed to return the designs submitted at the last committee meeting, and to express the thanks of the committee to the designers.

Bills for printing and petty expenditure were submitted and passed.

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

A Cross for the war memorial Altar has been promised

War Memorial Chapel Fund

Unfortunately, the detailed list of subscriptions has been crowded out, but will appear in the December issue. Total cash received for general purposes, £292 15s 11d, and another £75 to £100 for an oak Altar, and a Cross for the Altar has also been promised.

Maidenhead St Luke parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P181/28A/28)

The great silence: the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain

The first Remembrance Day was observed in churches across the county.

Wargrave

Armistice Day

The first anniversary was well observed in the parish. There was a celebration of Holy Communion at 8 a.m. A muffled peal was rung from 10.30 to 10.45 a.m. A service in church was held at 10.45 and ended with the two minutes of silence when 11 o’clock was struck on the tenor bell. A full peal of bells, with firing, was rung in the evening. The services were well attended and ringing was exceptionally good.

Crazies Hill Notes

On November 11th an Intercessory Service was held in memory of those who laid down their lives during the War, and, at the hour of eleven, a silent tribute was paid to the fallen. Those moments of meditation were for many of us, accompanied by grief; but there were also hope and pride and high resolve in the thoughts of all who took part in that Service. Perhaps the uppermost thought was that the sacrifice of those who fell must not be in vain.

Burghfield

Armistice Day

Rural circumstances do not lend themselves to such striking manifestations as were to be seen in towns and cities during the “great silence”. But there can have been few in the parish who did not act upon the King’s suggestion and desire. Many of us would like this mute solemn commemoration to be repeated annually.


Ascot

On the Anniversary of the Armistice there was a special Celebration of the Holy Communion at 10.40 at which all our parishioners, who gave their lives in the War, were remembered by name.
The service was so timed that, at the moment of silence throughout the Empire, the large congregation was in the act of pleading the Sacrifice of Christ for the Living and the Dead.

In the evening there was a special Service of Thanksgiving , when we prayed for God’s Blessing upon the Ex-Service Men’s Club, the first portion of the Ascot War Memorial, which was declared open by Lady Roberts, and handed over to the Men’s Committee immediately afterwards. During the first week over 150 men joined the club.

Cranbourne

On Armistice Day a large number of our Parishioners came to Church at a few minutes before eleven o’clock and spent the time in silent prayer. After the bell had struck eleven strokes and the two minutes had elapsed, a Celebration of the Holy Communion took place. Instead of a sermon the Vicar read Mr. Arkwright’s no well-known hymn “O Valiant hearts” and before the Church Militant Prayer the names of all our fallen were read at the altar and specially commended to God’s keeping.


Newbury

On Armistice Day, November 11th, we kept the King’s command by holding a Special Service at 10.55, including the two minutes silence at 11 o’clock. There was a large congregation. The sights in the streets of our great cities, when all traffic stopped and men stood with bared heads, must have been most striking. Truly does the whole Empire honour the men who gave their lives in God’s Cause of Righteousness.

Wargrave parish magazine, December 1919 (D/P145/28A/31); Ascot and Cranbourne in Winkfield District Magazine, December 1919 (D/P 151/ 28A/11/12); Burghfield parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4); Newbury parish magazine, December1919 (D/P89/28A/14)

‘Cutting the sod’ for the village war memorial

What better day to start the memorial off?

11/11/19

From 3pm to 3.30pm today the children took part in the ceremony of ‘cutting the sod’ for the village war memorial.

Log book of Leckhampstead School (C/EL 51/2)

All men who, having lost their lives during the war, may be considered fit subjects for Berkshire Commemoration

It was important to remember all the war dead.

County and Reading War memorial

A strong Committee, upon which Mr Willink is serving, are considering this difficult subject, and an appeal will shortly be issued. At present the only decision arrived at is that the site shall be the mound in the Forbury Gardens. The Committee are issuing to all incumbents of parishes, and to all Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Associations, a request to send in the names, with details, of all men who, having lost their lives during the war, may be considered fit subjects for Berkshire Commemoration. If we can settle our own list for our own Parish Cross, this ought to serve both purposes. And Mr Willink repeats his appeal for any comments on the provisional list now to be seen in the church, near the lectern.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1919 (D/EX725/4)

More names than were originally arranged for have been accepted by the Committee as worthy of a place on the Memorial

Cookham Dean was going to need a bigger war memorial.

The Vicar’s Letter

I regret that it is impossible at present to assign a definite date for the Blessing and Dedication of the War Memorial. The delay is due to the fact that more names than were originally arranged for have been accepted by the Committee as worthy of a place on the Memorial, and extra space must be provided for them. As soon as this is satisfactorily finished in every detail, notice will be given of the Dedication Service.

Cookham Dean parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P43B/28A/11)

“This sense of freedom, this new opportunity, this cleaner world, has been purchased for us at the cost of life”

Jerusalem was sung at the dedication of the war memorial in Maidenhead Congregational (now United Reformed) Church.

November 1919
THE WAR MEMORIAL.

On Sunday evening, Nov. 2nd, a Special Service will be held at 6.30 in grateful and reverent memory of our young men who gave their lives in the Great War. The tablet will be unveiled by Mr. Lewis, who will also preach a sermon suitable to the occasion. We hope to see present every member of the Church and Congregation who is not unavoidably prevented.

December 1919
THE MEMORIAL BRASS.

The Brass Tablet erected to the memory of our young men who fell in the Great War was formally unveiled at the Sunday Evening Service, Nov. 2nd. There was a large congregation. The Minister was supported on the rostrum by the Deacons of the Church. The anthem was, “If we believe that Jesus died and rose again,” and the choir sang as a voluntary, Parry’s setting of Blake’s inspiring verses, which declare –

“We will not cease from mental strife,
Nor shall the sword sleep in our hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

Mr. Lewis took for his text, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” He said that the cause for which our young friends had laid down their lives was great and worthy, and concluded,

“Let us remember that we are those for whom lives have been laid down. This sense of freedom, this new opportunity, this cleaner world, has been purchased for us at the cost of life. That we might live our lives safely, without being tyrannized over by coarse and godless men, free to develop our own life in the way that seems highest to us, men have suffered and died. Now all life must be more sacred to us. This dear England must be more sacred. It is because Christ has been denied the right to control the life of the nations that the great sorrows yet will come (for there are evils infinitely greater than war and death), if we will not strive to set right the life of the land, according to His mind and will. We don’t belong to ourselves any more, for Christ bought us long ago, and we have been bought again by British soldiers for the service of our brother men. May we be worthy of all that has been done for us.”

The brass is a splendid piece of workmanship, and has been greatly admired. It was executed by a London firm, to the order of Mr Hews.


Maidenhead Congregational magazine, November and December 1919 (D/N33/12/1/5)

All the names of those who had fallen should be inscribed on the Memorial

Once the joy and relief of peace was over, it was time to reflect soberly on our losses.

WAR MEMORIAL

A committee meeting was held at Sulhamstead House on Saturday, November 1st, at 6 pm. The accounts of the Peace Celebrations were audited and found correct, showing a balance in hand of £23.9s.3d.

It was unanimously decided that this balance should be carried to the fund for erecting the “War Memorial” as arranged at the Public Meeting held on Monday, July 8th. The following resolutions were carried unanimously:

1. That the balance of £23.9s.3d should be carried to the fund called the “War Memorial Fund”, and used in the erection of a Memorial.

2. That the Rev. A K P Shepherd be appointed Treasurer.

3. That a house-to-house collection for the fund should be made.

4. That all the names of those who had fallen should be inscribed on the Memorial.

5. That a special committee should be appointed to carry out these arrangements, consisting of the present Finance Committee and the following: Mr Flitter, Mr Jones, Mrs Palmer, Mrs Shepherd, Mr Tyser, Mr Wells.

6. A vote of thanks to Sir George and Lady Watson for allowing the Sports and celebrations to be held in their grounds, and for also allowing Sulhamstead House to be used for the tea.

7. A vote of thanks to the staff at Sulhamstead House for their hard work on Peace Day.

8. A vote of thanks to Mr Clay, the Secretary.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1919 (D/EX725/4)

“The Committee cannot proceed with the design selected unless a total of at least £500 is secured”

Stratfield Mortimer needed to raise money for its war memorial.

The War Memorial

The Committee report as follows:-

“Subscriptions received to date at Lloyds Bank are £166 6s 0d. In addition, £100 has been promised. Any donations to this fund should be sent to Lloyds Bank, Reading, crossed ‘Mortimer War Memorial Fund.’ Smaller subscriptions will be gladly welcomed by the Hon. Sec., Miss Phelp, Wisley, Padworth Road.”

It is hoped that the above amounts will be largely increased early this month, as the Committee cannot proceed with the design selected unless a total of at least £500 is secured.

Stratfield Mortimer parish magazine, October 1919 (D/P120/28A/14)

The site for the Berkshire war memorial should be the Forbury Hill

A site was selected for a Berkshire war memorial.

21 October 1919
Executive Committee meeting

Present: J Herbert Benyon, President
Messrs Foley, Bates, Willink, Belcher, Bradbury, Barker, Quelch, Howell, Hayward, Johnson (Town Clerk), Arman (secretary).

The Secretary reported that the land in the Caversham Road, suggested as a possible site, could not be obtained for a lesser sum than £5000. He stated that it was understood that the Forbury Hill site would most likely be granted by the Town Council if desired.

The suggested designs sent in by the undermentioned gentlemen were on view and received consideration:

No. 1. Lt C H Perkins, ARIBA, Bracknell
2. J H Willett, Caversham
3. C B Willcocks, Reading
4. H Hutt, Reading
5. J H Carey & Son, Windsor
6. A N Arman (amateur), Reading
7. F G Belcher (amateur), Reading

A general discussion took place during which a scheme in connection with the new Caversham Bridge was referred to and explained by Mr Howell, and the suggestion was more or less supported by Mr Bates.

It was considered that the committee as a body should view the Exhibition of War Memorials at the Royal Holloway before coming to any conclusion, and it was thought that subsequently it should be debated whether a competitive design should be obtained by offering a premium and throwing the competition open generally, or whether it would be best to place the matter into the hands of some eminent artist to prepare a design and advise generally.

In order that some definite progress be made it was proposed by Councillor Quelch, seconded by Col Barker, that the site for the memorial should be the Forbury Hill in the Forbury Gardens, Reading. Carried.

The secretary was requested to make a formal application to the Town Council for the grant of the site in question. He was also requested to send a report of the committee meeting to the newspapers announcing the decision as to the site (subject to the approval of the Town Council).

Mr Hayward moved, and Mr Bates seconded, that Dr Stewart-Abram, the mayor-elect, be invited to join the committee. Passed unanimously.

The secretary submitted proposals, which were approved by the committee, to print and circulate throughout the county a poster asking that the names of Berkshire men for record on the memorial be sent to the vicars of the respective parishes; that the vicar of each parish in the county be asked to co-operate in obtaining the names of the men for record purposes; to print and circulate the suggested letter to the vicars of parishes together with the record card of which drafts were adopted. Similar applications for co-operation to be sent to the Comrades of the Great War and the Federation of Discharged Sailors & Soldiers.

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

More difficult work

Burghfield would commemorate the war dead by offering opportunities to the living.

The War Memorial Committee

On October 17th they adopted a report by the “Sports” Sub-committee, recommending that £10 be spent on levelling and improving a pitch in the old triangular recreation ground at the Hatch; and an estimated sum of £68 upon similar but much more difficult work on the new Recreation Ground by Holiday House…. The £10 voted for the school children’s games (see Oct. Magazine) has been paid over to Mr Sheppard, to be expended as may be agreed by the Head Teachers of the several Schools.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1919 (D/EX725/4)

Beautiful glass representing St George

The Earley war memorial porch plans were altered to save money.

Memorial Porch Committee Meeting

There was a good attendance on October 16. Present: The Chairman, Mr Churchwarden Brown and Mr FB East (hon. Treasurers), Messrs. W B Waters, H B Mole, W Lawrence, A H Salman, H Masters, H Knapman, J A Murray, G C T Carter, F C Edwards, E Clayton Jones, E Long; Ladies – Mrs Newbery, Miss Goose, Miss Lawrence, Miss Driscoll, Miss G Fanstone.

The meeting was occupied with many matters of importance for an hour and a half. It was decided by a majority of votes that a resolution to line the porch with stone to be rescinded on the grounds of expense, and that the walls be plastered. It was agreed that the question of slate or stone material for the slab upon which the names be inscribed be left to the judgement of the architect; and the committee confirm their previous resolution that all parishioners should have the right to place names of their sons who died on this tablet; they felt, however, that it was not desirable that this should be done in cases where the names were associated with a memorial in another church, without special reason. The chairman produced some figures supplied by the builder which are of general interest:-

Estimated cost of Porch £559 13s 0d
Less nett cost of stone lining £20 18s 0d
£538 15s 0d

Add cost of figure in niche, also slate or stone tablet with names cut, amount uncertain, Architect’s commission of 10% on above amount

£53 17s 6d
£592 12s 6d

At the close of the meeting the treasurers made the following statement

Subscriptions paid or promised, as already announced in October Magazine

£482 0s 2d
Less unredeemed promises £2 1s 6d
£479 18s 8d

Collection at dedication festival £39 11s 0d
New subscriptions Oct 16 £11 5s 5d
£530 15s 1d

The next meeting of the committee was fixed for Nov 20 at 7.30pm

The work is now growing rapidly, and it is interesting to watch the plan of dovetailing the new work into the old wall of the present building. To do this the old north doorway had to be lowered to meet the timbered ceiling of the porch, a new arch has also been turned on the inside and the door cut down correspondingly. Thus the new doors and doorway will be considerably lower. Adjoining this doorway, about three feet eastward, will be a small door leading to the stairs to the chamber over the porch. The stairway is cut partly in the thickness of the wall and abuts in part on the floor of the porch, being concealed by brick walls. For this purpose one of two lights has been removed and there remains one single window just east of the stairs doorway. This light will be filled with beautiful glass painted by Mr Bewsey, representing S George. It is a gift from Mr B H Butler in memory of his son Benjamin James Butler whose ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. The glass is finished and ready for fixing. The ceiling of the porch will be built of rebated oak joists with oak panels to ceiling covered with deal floor (above) and a layer of felt between. The chamber above will thus be impervious to sound and draught. It has been decided to plaster the walls of the interior; and not as stated last month to line the porch with stone; the expense, £20 18s, seemed not justified by the advantage.


Earley St Bartholomew parish magazine, November 1919 (D/P192/28A/15)

Never completed on account of the War

Roadside memorials required permission from the council.

MAIDENHEAD: CRAUFURD RAILWAY ARCH

The Committee have received a report with reference to the widening and improving the Craufurd railway arch on the main road between Maidenhead and Marlow.

An agreement was arrived at between the County Council and the Maidenhead Town Council, in 1914, whereby the Council agreed to pay one half of the then estimated cost.

It appears that the arrangements for a grant from the Road Board were never completed on account of the War. Having regard to the increase in the estimated cost of the work, the Committee cannot recommend the Council to contribute thereto.

The Committee recommend, however, that caution posts be erected at the bridge approaches.

WAR MEMORIALS

Maidenhead.

Application has been received from Maidenhead Town Council for the erection of a War Memorial on the Bath road (High Street), Maidenhead.

The Committee recommend that no objection be raised – provided that certain suggestions as to the surface of the roadway are carried out, and that no expense is thrown on the County Council.

Arborfield Green.

An application has also been received from Mr John Simonds for permission to erect a War Memorial opposite the pond at Arborfield Cross.

The Committee recommend that no objection be raised to the proposition.


Highways and Bridges Committee report to Berkshire County Council, 11 October 1919 (C/CL/C1/1/22)

The cost of the memorial will be just about covered

Burghfield wanted to echo the war graves abroad in its parish memorial.

The War Memorial Committee has held two meetings in October. On October 10th they adopted a report by the “Cross” Sub-committee recommending that Messrs G Maile & Sons’ tender should be accepted for the erection of a facsimile, 10 ft 6 ins high, of the Cross designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, RA (for use in military cemeteries abroad). The price of the Cross itself will be £175. The cost of the foundation, erection and lettering cannot yet be stated, but will just about be covered by the sum available. The foundation will be put in at once, and the Cross be erected in the spring.

Burghfield parish magazine, November 1919 (D/EX725/4)

There should be some sort of Peace Memorial

There were mixed views in Wargrave as to how to commemorate the war.

October
Peace Memorial

The Parish has summoned a Parish Meeting for Friday, October 10th, which will be held 7.15 p.m. in the Woodclyffe Hall.

It is felt that this would be a suitable occasion for raising the question of a Peace Memorial in the Parish.

I. – There is a very general feeling that there should be some memorial in the Parish Church, in memory of those who fell and to record the names of those whose lives were freely jeopardised for the glory of God. Such a memorial has been already dedicated in the East Window, as a tribute from an individual donor, and it will be completed by a Chancel Screen with the names carved on the panels. But there are those who would like to have a share in raising a General Memorial, which would remain as a tribute from the parish as a whole. With this view the East End of the South Aisle was specially reserved by a Resolution of the Vestry. Sir Charles Nicholson has prepared a scheme of decoration, for this which will be submitted to the meeting on Friday, Oct. 10th. It provides for a screen, in continuation of the proposed Chancery Screen, and for the panelling of the walls. A lectern might be added with a large volume, after the fashion of an old chained bible, in which the names might be engrossed and biographical particulars added. We should thus have a Place of Memorial.

No scheme of embellishment can give to any part of the church the least dignity and sanctity without making it a place of Communion, because the whole plan in the building and decorating of our churches is to lead the worshippers to the altar, as that to which everything else is subordinated. In our Peace Memorial there is unfortunately no space for an altar. But the East Window of the chancel itself is a memorial to the fallen and all who approach the choir to enter the sanctuary will see the names on the chancel screen.

II. – there are also those who feel that there should be some sort of Peace Memorial outside the church. If so it would seem that this should be either a monument to commemorate the services rendered or an institution to benefit the families of those who served and their children after them.

There may be many suggestions made when the opportunity of the public meeting gives occasion and, if so, the widest possible range is to be encouraged. We want all the suggestions which commend themselves to the different views and tastes of parishioners. It will be easy to refer such proposals to a committee, who shall report to a subsequent meeting, if such a course is thought to be advisable.

It is therefore to be hoped that the meeting will be very largely attended.

The actual purpose for which the meeting is summoned is to decide about a German Gun.

The War Office has sent a 77 m/m Field Gun and Carriage to the Parish Council to be kept in the parish as a public trophy of the great victory and as an acknowledgement of the V.C. which adorns the Wargrave Roll of Honour.

It has been presented to the Parish Council that there is some difference of opinion as to how the gift should be dealt with. The Parish Council has therefore summoned a Public Meeting of the Parishioners to decide the matter.

November
The Parish Meeting

Three matters were brought before the Parish Meeting, which was summoned by the Parish Council on Friday, October 10th, at the Woodclyffe Hall. The Peace Memorial, a German Gun presented by the Trophies Committee of the War Office, and a new Burial Ground.

There were very diverse subjects, but in each case it was felt that the matter should be put to the widest possible vote, and when the prospect arose of a largely attended meeting it seemed best to take the opportunity of bringing them all forward on the same night.

The Peace Memorial

The Vicar, as chairman of the Parish Council, presided. He introduced the subject by explaining that there was no notice of any particular Resolution before the meeting, but it would seem that a Peace Memorial should either take the form of some sort of monument to commemorate the fallen, or some sort of institution to benefit those who had served in the Great War or their dependents.

A memorial to the fallen might be either inside the Church or outside. A memorial was already secured inside the Church in the East Window and Chancel Screen given by Sir William and Lady Cain. The names of the fallen would be carved on the panels of the screen. But this was an individual gift and several people had expressed a wish to add something more, as a memorial by public subscription. Any such proposal having to do with the fabric of the Parish Church must be submitted to a “Vestry Meeting”.

A Vestry Meeting had decided that the East End of the South Aisle should be reserved as a Place of Memorial and the walls had therefore been left free from individual tablets. The consulting architect, Sir Charles Nicholson, had considered that if this proposal was eventually adopted the best [plan would be to erect a screen, in harmony with the Chancel Screen, and to panel the walls in oak. It would be possible to preserve a record of the names of all who had served, together with biographical particulars of the fallen, in a book, after the fashion of a chained bible, on a Lectern inside the screen. Sir Charles Nicholson’s sketch design was exhibited in the Hall.

After some discussion it was proposed that a Committee be appointed to consider the best form of Peace Memorial outside the Church and to report. The following gentlemen were elected on the Committee with power to add to their number:- Messrs. R. Sharp, H. A. Hunt, T. H. Barley, F. Headington, A. B. Booth, W. Sansom, J. Richardson, J. Hodge, Major Howard Jones, Col. C. Nicholl, Major K. Nicholl, and Dr. McCrea.

Another Parish Meeting will be summoned in due course to receive the report of this Committee.

It is no doubt a good thing to leave the question of any Memorial inside the Church to a Vestry Meeting. A Vestry is an equally public Meeting, but it is summoned by the Vicar and Churchwardens and is technically qualified to apply to the Chancellor of the Diocese for het legal ‘faculty,’ which gives permission to proceed with the work. A Parish Meeting summoned by the Parish Council is not thus qualified and could only make a recommendation to a Vestry.

The German Gun

The next question was that of the German Gun. A resolution asking the Parish Council to accept the trophy was lost by a considerable majority.


Wargrave parish magazine, October and November 1919 (D/P145/28A/31)