Local history: How Lutterworth got its War Memorial and gardens - and why they are still a focal point 100 years later
Ahead of a special service to mark its centenary, we look back on the origins of the War Memorial
This year is the 100th anniversary of Lutterworth's War Memorial - and on October 3 there will be a special event to mark the occasion. Lutterworth Town Council looks back on how the town got its war memorial with a piece written by Andy Ward.
How Lutterworth Got Its War Memorial
Written by Andy Ward
100 years ago, in common with so many cities, towns and villages, Lutterworth was undecided as to what form its War Memorial would take.
Some had settled for practical useful War Memorials, others for symbolic ones. Various meetings took place in Lutterworth and the Memorial as we see today was thought to be the more fitting.
The gardens were built on the site of a large house which was demolished.
As well as giving the town a Memorial Garden, it also opened up the corner of Church Street to facilitate a better view into George Street for an ever-increasing amount of traffic passing through the town.
Waller Bedingfield, a prominent architect living on Bitteswell Road and deeply involved in Lutterworth affairs, offered to design the memorial for free.
He had been chairman of the parish council at the outbreak of the First World War and maintained his involvement ever since. If Waller Bedingfield was the obvious choice to design the War Memorial, Peter Rourke, who had built so many of Lutterworth’s recent housing developments was the obvious person to carry out the work. His son, Thomas, had served in the Leicestershire Yeomanry, winning the Military Cross. So, the contract was signed in the spring of 1921 and Peter Rourke charged £120.00 for the work.
The unveiling took place on a hot summer’s day, Tuesday May 24, 1921 and was very well attended by the local population. The Earl of Denbigh officiated and gave a speech to the assembled crowd.
The town has grown and increased in size quite considerably over the last 100 years but the War Memorial and its gardens have remained very much the same over that time and the annual Act of Remembrance is held here each year.
Due to the pandemic, the actual commemoration has had to be delayed slightly. However on Sunday October 3, Lutterworth Town Council, in partnership with the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club, will be hosting an event to mark the anniversary.