Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Cartwright Street War Memorial, Newton

A comment was made on the recent post about the Memorial on Cartwright Street by 'SC' saying that he (or is that she?) remembered when the soldier's head was frequently knocked off by drunks and feckless youths and that he/she was glad to see that he was intact again. Well, yes he is intact, but that isn't him standing at the end of Cartwright Street. This is the original - and sometime headless - soldier:
He stands in Hyde Town Hall at the top of the stairs facing you as you go through the main doors on Market Street. The plaque at his feet says:
The Newton War Memorial

This is the original 'Little Soldier' statue, which was bought
with donations from
local residents, and was sited at the junction of Cartwright Street
and Victoria Street, in Newton, Hyde.

The Statue was replaced with a bronze replica in 2005

I too remember seeing the statue so many times without a head and the bronze replacement should ensure that there will be no recurrences of such vandalism.

Also in the Town Hall and attached to the railings of that staircase are these two plaques dating from the Second World War:
I am indebted to this site for the following explanation of the War Savings Campaign:

'Community campaign weeks during WW2
"The People's War" is a term that has been applied to the Home Front in Britain during the Second World War. One key feature of this "People's War" that reached out to every community in Britain was the War Savings Campaign. This was run by Sir Robert Kindersley on behalf of the British Government, mainly as an extension of the National Savings Movement which he had led before the war. 
Savings groups were organised in each local community throughout the country. On the one hand the War Savings Campaign encouraged thrift at an individual level and on the other hand brought together the community by fund raising for large-scale campaigns such as the 'Spitfire Fund' (1940), 'War Weapons Week' (1941), 'Warship Weeks' (1941 / 1942), 'Wings For Victory Week' (1943) and 'Salute the Soldier Week' (1944). 
The pattern of these campaign weeks involved a community being set a large monetary target. Ostensibly, the idea was to save a sufficient amount of money to support the airman, sailor or soldier have the means to win the war. During the campaign week, the organising committee arranged events in support of the campaign, which might include meetings about the war, speeches by decorated war heroes and visits by Government ministers or royalty. Generally speaking, each community met or surpassed its target by a combination of individual saving groups, insurance companies and local banks or other financial institutions. 
The campaign week was also supported by the local newspaper for each community. Overall, these campaigns tended to bring together the local community and the service man or woman. Everyone was united in their intention of winning the war.
Some weeks or months after the campaign week, each community received a commemorative plaque similar to the ones seen in the photographs above. The commemorative plaques for the other campaigns are of a similar design. Usually they were placed in place of honour, such as at the Town Hall or local museum. Some, like the ones in the photograph, have survived into the modern era and are still on display. They remain a silent if unobtrusive reminder of the times when communities united as one in standing up to Adolf Hitler and Nazi tyranny during the "People's War" between 1939 and 1945.'


Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. Strange, I passed this statue every day of my life until the age of 16 and I swear that the original statue had the typical British tin helmet on it;s head in those days.

Werneth Low said...

And also in the town hall are the five oak panels which are inscribed with the names of those men of Hyde whose lives were lost in WW1. They are situated on the landing at the top of the first flight of stairs from the main entrance, near the door leading into the public hall. Interestingly, the panels only contain 707 names, rather than 710 mentioned on the Werneth Low Memorial.

How long has the soldier sculpture been up there, Dave? I visited the town hall in February this year to photograph some of the coloured glass windows and the war memorial, but I don't recall seeing it, nor does it appear on my photos. Had it been there, I'm sure I would have photographed it as it's attractive in a quirky sort of way and of historical interest.

Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. "Quirky' is the right word. Something just doesn't sit right with the hat. The soldier is wearing WW1 battle dress, ie, webbing, putees etc (worn on the battlefield) yet wearing a parade ground type of cap/hat.Yes, in some instances caps were worn but the peak is totally different to the UK issue one. Again, my memory of the statue in the 50s was the old 'Tommy' metal hat.

Dave Williams said...

I don't know how long the statue has been (or is that 'was'?) in the Town Hall, but the photo here was taken in March 2011, and I took an earlier one in July 2010. I'll call in during the week to have a look if it's still there, or what has taken its place. As far as the hat or helmet is concerned I don't ever recall seeing it with a 'tin helmet' on, but my memory of it only stretches back to when I was living on Talbot Road from 1980. I've also looked at images of WW1 uniforms on different websites and I can't see any British soldiers with this type of headgear, they all seem to be the traditional stiff-peaked cap. Oddly though the Germans had a type of headwear which looks like the one on this statue.

Tom said...

I remember a while back this was discussed in the Letter Pages of the Advertiser... but can not recall the outcome... I will ask around locally to see if anything turns up.
It was a shame to see it with it's head off, It must have been in the very early 1980s when this kept happening.. again it made the local papers.

Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. Dave, I was born on Victoria Street and travelled that road almost daily in the 50s & 60s. Being the son of a WW2 veteran I always took an interest in the statue.

Anonymous said...

Compare it with the photo on Tameside Archives images

It looks different, the soldier seems to be looking down and you can see a peak on his hat
Ref No t05633 War memorial-Newton



Anonymous said...

Barry in Oz. Dave, when you visit the Town Hall can you see what the Regimental cap badge is on the cap please ? or take a photo of it.

Werneth Low said...

Thanks for that, Dave. Could you have a look at the memorial to Mrs Evelyn Maud Welch while you're there too please. It mentions The Tipperary Guild and I'm interested to know what that was.

Werneth Low said...

Sorry, Dave, for misinformation. She's Evelyn Rose Welch!

Andrew Bowden said...

I grew up very close to that statue in the 1980s and it was so rare to even see it with his head on. Real shame that some people just mistreated him like that.

Wasn't aware they'd re-done him out of bronze (I live in London these days) but it's good to see the original is in a safe place.