Postby Shandalone » Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:43 pm
Can I just correct a couple of points regarding the West Lane War Memorial and the Boer War Memorial in St James's Church, of which I raised funds to have both restored, and in the case of the Bermondsey Boer War Memorial and with the kind assistance of the St James's PCC had installed in St James' Church.
The Bermondsey and Rotherhithe War Memorial at West Lane was in deed part of the Mayor of Bermondsey's initiative to raise E100,000. The Bermondsey and Rotherhithe War Memorial Fund commenced on 12th March 1919 at a meeting of the Bermondsey Borough Council. The idea include a Bermondsey War Memorial Children's Ward at Guy's Hospital, and which was completed and opened by Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Helena Victoria, on 7th February 1923, with the unveiling of a memorial tablet. There was also to be playing fields and orphanages, but they never came to fruition, and the £100.000 was never fully raised. It is true that Arthur Carr, owner of Peek Frean did contribute the most to the fund, and indeed Mr Carr spoke at the War Memorial's unveiling on 8th October 1921, as well as attending the opening of the Children's Ward. Just as an aside, Peek Frean also had their own memorial in the grounds of the factory, but seems to have well and truly disappeared (there are photos in the Peek Frean Museum), along with a model of the B & R War Memorial that was presented to Southwark Council by Peek Frean & Co. back in 1971 (and which is mentioned in the Peek Frean staff magazine), however Southwark seem to have "misplaced" it when I made enquiries. The War Memorial itself was unveiled by Mrs Hetty Speer, who lived in Crimscott Road, and as you mentioned lost three son's in the Great War. The Memorial Fund sent a page to everyone they knew had lost a father, uncle, son or brother the war. Those pages were collated and bound into a book that's kept at the Local Studies Library in the Borough, and called "Bermondsey and Rotherhithe The European War". A few years ago I read through this as part of my research into the B & R War Memorial, you'll find the pages completed by Mrs Speer. along with the Rev Scott Lidgett, and even from the distance of a century, you can feel the raw emption poured into its pages.
Last year (2021) on 8th October at precisely 3:00pm, we held a Centenary Service, (100 years to the day and minute) in the presence of the Mayor of Southwark, who wore the Bermondsey Mayoral Chain (that was worn at the original unveiling), and Neil Coyle MP. The Service followed that of the original, with Fergus Carr, the great grandson of Arthur Carr, reading the words said by Arthur, and the the Memorial being unveiled by Mrs Jane Radford, a descendent of Mrs Speer, by pulling a union flag to one side, just as Mrs Speer did a century before.
With regards to the Bermondsey Boer War Memorial, some of the names that appear on the memorial weren't killed, they were men fought in the war, and some were even in attendance when Gen Sir Redvers Buller VC unveiled the memorial at Bermondsey Town Hall. The unveiling was reported in the Southwark Recorder, and the photograph of the complete Memorial was found in that edition by the wonderful and much missed Stephen Humphrey, who once told me that his grandfather had served under Gen Buller, and who (when Stephen was a boy) had a dog called Buller! Although funds were raised to completely restore the memorial (putting back replicas of the broken arch and Bermondsey Coat of Arms, the C of E didn't want this as they felt that future residents may think that the memorial is all original, that's why there's a framed copy of the Southwark Recorder photograph next to it. The Memorial was restored and letters re pained by DBR in Dulwich, with funds from Southwark Council's Cleaner, Greener, Safer Fund.
As a postscript, the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Branch of the Royal British Legion, hold a Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday at the B & R War Memorial each year (Covid allowing) at 11:00am, and everyone is most welcome.
Apologies for a rather long first post.