On Saturday I attended the Council for British Archaeology North West’s spring conference at Staining and afterwards I briefly ventured into Blackpool to explore its seafront.
The key details regarding Blackpool war memorial can be found here. Located in an oval memorial garden defined by walls and elaborate neo-Egyptian bronze lamps, Blackpool’s war memorial is situated in front of the Promenade and between Blackpool’s North Pier to the south and the Grand Metropole Hotel to the north. The monument itself is an obelisk designed by Ernest Prestiwch and unveiled 10 November 1923.
To the west the dedication reads: IN MEMORY OF/ OUR/ GLORIOUS DEAD/ 1914-1918/ 1939-1945. Standing to attention, the dedication is flanked by two relief representations of a sailor and airman. To the east, the identical dedication is flanked by two soldiers.
Around its base, are two large figural relief panels, one called ‘1914 War/Justice’ looking south and ‘1918 Peace’ looking north. Allegorical figures of women form the focus of stylised portrayals of servicemen, women and children.
The names of the First World War dead – 907 in total – are recorded in relief upon bronze coped canopies over recumbent cenotaphic tombs to the north and south of the obelisk but upon its plinth.
There is one additional name post-1945, added below the bronze panel recording the names of the Second World War dead – 616 in total – on the eastern side of the monument.
FALKLAND CONFICT/ 1982/ FOULKES F, M.N.
The memorial was rededicated with a ‘choir loft’ to the east of the memorial dedicated to civilian casualties in conflict in 2008. By the southern entrance is a plaque commemorating the unveiling of the world’s first permanent projection onto a war memorial, 3 November 2008.
The wider setting is also dramatic and monumental: the memorial overlooks land and sea. The monument can be seen a long way along the Promenade from each direction to the north and south. It is only overshadowed by the Blackpool Tower, under 30 years old when the war memorial was unveiled.
I’ve previously discussed the biographies of war memorials and this is a further example on a grand scale where some of its stages of use and reuse remain written onto memorials in text and other media. In the case of the Blackpool memorial, these stages include the First World War, the Second World War, the Falklands Conflict and most recently the more universal generic commemoration of civilian suffering during conflict in 2008.
Of particular interest to me is the Falklands dimension. This is another example of how a single or small group of names from the Falklands conflict have a prominent place in relation to the many more fallen of previous conflicts on public war memorials in North-West England as discussed here and here.