Sunday, 28 October 2012
Hyde War Memorial (Cenotaph), A brief history
I thought with the Remembrance Day not far off, a brief history of the Hyde War memorial or Cenotaph as it is commonly known would be appropriate.
The war memorial was erected in 1921 to commemorate the loss of over 700 Hyde men in the first world war of 1914-1919.
The task of organising a suitable war memorial scheme was given to Councillor E. Bury JP, who became Mayor of Hyde in 1919. The amount required was estimated at £12,500, but over £14,000 was raised by voluntary contributions. Of this £4,000 was spent on the purchase of the Lower Higham Farm estate, on Werneth Low and a further £2,000 was spent on the actual monument.
The monument itself took the form of an obelisk of Cornish granite with a total height of 27ft 6". The site is the highest point of Werneth Low known as the Hacking Knife, some 800ft above sea level.
The four sides of the lower portion of the monument bear inscriptions. The slab facing the town is surmounted by the borough of Hyde coat of arms and bears the words "The Great War, 1914-1919". The next slab to the right bears the inscription " In honour of the 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives for King and Country". The next contains the words " In proud remembrance," and on the last are the words " They willingly left the unachieved purpose of their lives in order that all life should not be wrenched from the purpose".
The War memorial was unveiled on Saturday afternoon, June 24th, 1921. a number of processions made their way, by various routes to the summit, and by 3.30 pm the assembly around the memorial had reached around 12,000. The Mayor Alderman S. Fawley, JP presided, supported by many prominent townsmen and women. The memorial was unveiled by Mrs Stanley Welch. Prayers and dedications were made and the deeds presented to the mayor.
A further part of the War memorial Scheme was the creation of a trust fund under which 268 children of the fallen sailors and soldiers received £4 per annum during the five years between the ages of 11 and 16 years. Other schemes were also formulated.