I recently revisited to the National Trust property of Attingham Park, an 18th-century mansion near Atcham, Shropshire. I have previously commenting on their megalithic stone circles in the play area.
This time I visited the Walled Garden to find that the environment has been given a First World War theme, with the centrally placed ‘dipping well’ – a fabulous structure once used to fill watering cans for the entire garden – transformed into a memorial focus. This is part of a First World War theme to the entire garden and the broader theme for education at Attingham Park focusing on the experience of the conflict on the ‘home front’.
We have created this memorial to commemorate the dedication, fortitude and resilience of a small community dealing with the immensity of war.
On the principal front are the names of the three individuals from among the gardeners who died. I’m left wondering whether this is a temporary war memorial or a heritage display about the First World War at Attingham. Is there a difference, and are such displays – found throughout the country at this time – a mixture of the two?
Certainly, much can be made of, and is left implicit in this exhibition, the relationship between water and regeneration in war memorialisation.