The original Heywood War Memorial was sculptured by Walter Marsden and was unveiled in August 1925. Constructed in grey granite, it has a traditional style Grade II memorial to the men of Heywood who gave their lives during the Great War of 1914-1918 and the Second World War of 1939-1945.
Following a campaign from local families and the Royal British Legion a new memorial dedicated to members of the armed forces who have died since 1945 was added in 2009. The polished granite monument, thought to be the first of its kind in the country, now sits alongside the existing monument in Heywood? Memorial Gardens.
The two stone plinths include the words: “Dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces who lost their lives in the service of their country since World War II. In near and far off lands they paid the supreme sacrifice. We will remember them.”
The memorial also includes the emblems of the Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Heywood town crest and is designed so that future messages can be added.
Work on War Memorials is delicate and requires a very sensitive touch. Not only are they monuments of national significance but they are also ones of immense power and meaning to large numbers of people. We’ve been honoured to work on several in recent years, including Chorley Pals, Dunkenfield Park and Ashton Gardens in St Anne’s.
Heywood was different because, in honouring the dead since 1945 it was a first, and because of this attracted a great deal of added interest. The stone was sourced prior to our involvement by the client Rochdale Borough Council, via a specialist stone supplier. The low level symmetrical semi-circle plinths were designed to match the colour and appearance of the existing memorial. They were positioned to sit behind and to the left and right of the original.
Though a relatively simply design and concept the positioning of the blocks presented the major challenge. Access to the Memorial Gardens is restricted and it was not possible to get a wagon close to the site. So we had to move each 2.5 tonne stone block into place using a telehandler. Even then it was tricky, the telehandler only fit through the park gates with inches to spare.
The overall effect is a subtle addition to the existing Grade II listed mounted and one that’s significant to many more people.