Tag Archives: Mitcham War Memorial

Unveiling of the Mitcham War Memorial

From the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 26th November, 1920


The war shrine, situated on the Lower Green, Mitcham, was unveiled last Sunday by Major-General Sir H. E. Watts, K.C.B., C.M.G. (formerly commanding the 7th Division and 19th Corps, B.E.F.). The weather, although very cold, was fine, and about 5,000 people were present at the unveiling.

Alderman R. M. Chart (Chairman of the War Memorial Committee) said that this shrine was to commemorate the self-sacrifice of those who made the supreme sacrifice, and show our undying sorrow felt by those who have lost dear ones in the late war. Two years ago the war terminated, and in February, 1919, a committee was formed for the purpose of raising funds for the war shrine. There was some difficulty as to the most prominent place for the shrine, and on Peace Day, when the temporary memorial was put behind the Vestry Hall, it was proposed that that should be the site for the permanent one. It is also proposed now that a fencing should be placed round the shrine, but with facilities for the public to place flowers on it, which he (Mr. R. M. Chart) was sure they would do from time to time. He also said that every effort had been made to obtain the names of men who had been killed in action or died of wounds, and, at present, there were 557 names inscribed on the shrine, and since then more had come to hand, and would be inscribed in due course. The speaker then said it was his duty and pleasure to introduce Major-General Sir H. E. Watts, K.C.B., C.M.G., who had well served his country in the late war. He was commanding in the first and third Battle of Ypres.

Major-General Sir H. E. Watts, K.C.B., C.M.G., said, after what Mr. Chart had said, there was not much more to say, but there was one incident that he would like to remind them of, and that was the late Earl Kitchener’s appeal of “Your King and Country need you,” at the beginning of the war, in which all men flocked to enlist. “Why !” because they knew that they were going to fight for freedom and endure the hardships of war, which was a fine example of self-sacrifice and unselfishness. All honour was due to them who came forward at the country’s call. The men, women and children were also a great help, for, while we soldiers were fighting, those at home endured many hardships, but without murmuring. He then unveiled the memorial, and the “Last Post” was played by buglers of the East Surrey Regiment.

The hymn, “Nearer my God to Thee,” was sung, and then the invocation and prayers were said by Rev. C. A. Finch, the Vicar of Mitcham, after which Rev. J. F. Cowley, the the Zion Congregational Church, said a few words.

Rev. J. F. Cowley said that, in doing honour to those who laid down their lives for us, there should be no mistake, for if they had not done so, no English home would be intact and safe to-day, but the unspeakable happenings in Belgium would have happened in England, and, perhaps, have been even worse, because it was against England that the Germans were so bitter and revengeful. He said we should thank God and our fallen heroes for such a merciful deliverance, and also think God for such sons, fathers, brothers and sweethearts who so cheerfully laid down their lives to save us from shame and dishonour. They must not forget to honour and thank the mothers who gave the best, they had got; and in the future, when one was in despair, they should just go to the shrine and remember what, Englishmen could and did do for their country, because they thought that, if it was worth living for, it was worth dying for. Those present then proceeded to place their floral tributes on the shrine, during which Mr. Rudyard Kipling’s “Recessional” was sung.

The Jubilee Lodge, R.A.O.B., sent a wreath in memory of fallen “Buffs.” Other lodges also sent wreaths.

The special constables were present under the command of Inspectors Webb and Freeman. Colonel Bidder, D.S.O., was present, and a detachment of ex-Service men lined up round the inside of the ropes. The music for the hymns was played by the Mitcham and Wimbledon Military Band, conducted by Mr. H. Salter.

1962 Cleaning of the Mitcham War Memorial

The Mitcham War Memorial on Lower Green West was cleaned in 1962.

The contract for the cleaning was awarded to Neonore Stone Cleaning Co. Two extra inscription panels were added during this work.

On the fifth plinth step:

1939 – 1945

and between the fourth and fifth plinth steps


From the Mitcham News & Mercury

10th August 1962 : Face-lift for war memorial

MITCHAM’S 40-year-old First World War Memorial is to have a face lift.

In their 1962 estimates Mitcham Council have put aside ” a certain amount of money ” for the restoration of the memorial, which has been affected by the weather.

According to the borough engineers’ department the face-lift is expected to take place some time during October.

Since the memorial was built in the early 1920’s many of the names and inscriptions have faded—some have been worn completely away—and now the local council feel it is time for a restoration.

A spokesman for the borough engineers’ department said this week: ” The memorial is quite weather-beaten and we are planning to re-cut the names and inscriptions.”

17th August 1962 : Weather erases names

MITCHAM COUNCIL have had quite a job deciphering the names on the First World War Memorial at Lower Green West, near the fire station.

During the 40 years the memorial has been standing it has taken quite a beating from the weather so that now most names can hardly be read. A spokesman for the borough engineer’s department said that it was the initials causing the most bother. Same of them had worn off completely. A list of the names has been taken off the memorial which will be cleaned and smoothed so that the names can be recut. The council hope to have the work completed before Armistice Day on November 11.

10th October 1962 : £118 bill for memorial work

The restoration of the war memorial, Lower Green, Mitcham, is to cost Mitcham Council £118 plus 1s. 2d. for the re-cutting of each letter.

It has also been decided by the council to incorporate suitable wordings with the restoration work so that the memorial shall also serve for those who died in World War II.

Until now the memorial has been solely for the First World War.

Adjusted for inflation, £118 in 1962 is around £2,400 in 2016 values. The number of letters re-cut is not known as no records were kept of this work. Adjusted for inflation, each letter at one shilling and twopence is around £1.20 in 2016.

From the minutes of the Corporation of Mitcham Volume 22 1962 to 1963

Finance Report 25th September 1962 page 295

War Memorial, Lower Green –

(i) That the quotation of the Neonore Stone Cleaning Co., in the sum of £118, plus 1s. 2d. for the re-cutting of each letter, be accepted; and

(ii) That, while the restoration of the War Memorial is in progress, the Borough Engineer be authorised, in consultation with the Chairman and Town Clerk, to incorporate suitable additional writing to those that died in World War II.

Finance Report 15th January 1963, page 634

War Memorial, Lower Green – The Borough Engineer submitted the following report:-

11th January, 1963

To the Chairman and Members of the Finance, Rating and Valuation Committee
Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,

War Memorial, Lower Green

I have to report that the cost of providing an additional tablet referring to the dead of the second world war is £28.

Yours obediently,
J. W. Turner,
Borough Engineer and Surveyor.
Resolved, That the report be received.

Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Borough Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.