A WAR Memorial which has stood in the town for nearly a century has had its listed building status upgraded.
The British Thomson-Houston War Memorial, which was built at Mill Road in 1921, has been upgraded to Grade II* status.
It is one of 44 nationwide First World War memorials designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens which are now protected by listing.
Lutyens, known as architect of the Whitehall Cenotaph and the war cemeteries of the Western Front, also designed 44 war memorials for towns and villages all over England.
The British Thomson-Houston Memorial is one of 15 War Crosses Lutyens designed. Commissioned by engineering firm British Thomson-Houston, it was positioned outside their factory on Mill Road, sporting Lutyens’ War trademark tall minimalist shaft and short cross arm.
It commemorates former workers at the factory who gave their lives during the two world wars, and bears the inscription: “In Memory of the Men of the British Thomson Houston Co’y who gave their lives in the Great Wars. Their name liveth for evermore.”
The memorial has a time-capsule buried beneath it and the unusual feature of a circular plinth carrying the 243 names of the employees who died in the war.
It was moved to Technology Drive in 2010 when redevelopment work began on the former Alstom industrial site.
Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said: “Lutyens was a key figure in determining how the dead and missing should be commemorated. His designs are admired for the universality of their message.
“His pure architectural forms are mute symbols of grief, the simple inscriptions weighted with sorrow. These are enduring memorials, which show the power of classical architecture to convey meaning and dignity.
“We are also very grateful to volunteers who have helped us with these new listings – a new form of partnership.”
Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Heritage, said: “The commemoration of the First World War Centenary has inspired people all over England to remember our shared history.
“Our war memorials provide a lasting legacy for those who sacrificed so much and I’d encourage anyone to nominate their local memorials for listing and preserve them for generations to come.”
Visit www.historicengland.org.uk/listingwarmemorials for more information.