KIRKBURTON MEMORIAL GARDEN
Kirkburton Memorial Garden
The Kirkburton Memorial Garden was dedicated in 1921 to commemorate the sixty men from the village who died in the Great War.
After the war a committee was established to find the best way of honouring those men who made the supreme sacrifice. They approached William Douglas Caroe, a leading architect in the Arts and Crafts Movement, who produced the design for a memorial cross, known to local people as ‘the Cenotaph’.
A public appeal was launched to cover the estimated cost of £400 and a former vicar, the Rev. Canon Richard Phipps, offered part of Church Croft, a small park he had purchased and created just to the north of the Police Station to mark his time at Kirkburton and the Coronation of George V.
The Memorial was unveiled on Saturday 18th of June at 3pm. On the day, members of the organising Committee, the Urban District Council, veterans and relatives of the fallen, assembled at the Council Offices at the bottom of Hallas Road. Led by the Kirkburton Victoria Brass Band, they marched to Church Croft, where an impressive combined service was led by clergy of the village churches and chapels, along with their choirs, under the direction of Mr Irvin Copley. The monument, which was adorned with a large number of wreaths and flowers, was unveiled by Colonel Armytage.
The Last Post and the Reveille were sounded and the Secretary of the Old Comrades Association, Mr George Parrett, read-out the names of the fallen.
After a short address by Col Armytage, Canon Phipps dedicated the memorial and the vicar, the Rev Frank Harold Sangster, pronounced the blessing.
After the ceremony Canon Phipps handed over the deeds of the Croft to the Chairman of the Urban District Council to be held by them in trust as a small public park.
In 1924 Benjamin Green’s name was added to the memorial after he died following surgery on wounds he received in the war.
The names inscribed on the memorial are as follows.
First World War
J. W. Carter
G. H. Redgwick
A. W. Carter
A. F. Lewis
C. S. Warey
G. O. Rowlands
C. E. Tiffany
J. W. Senior
G. H. Lee
G. A. Charlesworth
H. W. Jepson
E. A. Carter
J. H. Beaumont
C. E. Chambers
F. G. Phippard
J. E. Cain
W. H. Neal
H. A. Earnshaw
R. R. Shaw
J. F. Carter
D. H. Roberts
G. E. Wilkinson
J. F. Armitage
W. P. Shaw
Second World War
G. St. John
John Thomas Moss
Toc H Gates
The Toc H Gates are the entrance gates to the Kirkburton Memorial Garden and were given by the Kirkburton branch of Toc H in 1965 as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the movement and in remembrance of those who died in both World Wars.
The gates, which feature the Toc H lamp picked out in gold and the words “Toc H 1915-1965”and “We will remember them,” were made by a local blacksmith and Toc H member, Mr Duncan Smith.
The organisation began in the Belgian town of Poperinge in 1915 when British army chaplain, the Rev “Tubby” Clayton was ordered by his superior, Padre Neville Talbot, to establish some sort of rest house for soldiers. He took over an abandoned property and developed it as a place of refuge for men of all ranks and faiths. (photo 3)
Their motto was “All rank abandon, ye who enter here.”
Here soldiers could escape the war for a short time, reading in the library, relaxing, chatting, being entertained in concerts or simply worshipping in the chapel (photo 2) or walking in the garden.
The house was named “Talbot House” or T.H. in memory of Padre Talbot’s brother, Gilbert. Soldiers quickly substituted the army signaller’s code “Toc” for “T” to give it the familiar name.
After the war many places in Britain developed their own “Toc H” rooms where members of the community offered the same hospitality and friendship to travellers and visitors.
Photo 1 Duncan Smith in November 2017 after the Remembrance Day Service
Photo 2 Chapel at Poperinge
Photo 3 of Talbot House a place of refuge
Kirkburton War Memorial Gardens – 100th Anniversary
An ambitious plan from Burton Environment Group (BEG) to refurbish Kirkburton Memorial Gardens in time for the centenary of the signing of the Armistice finally came to fruition in November 2019.
The central idea, from BEG member Robert Walters, who has much experience of working in both wood and stone, was to replace the unkempt flower bed next to the existing limestone memorial erected in 1925 with a new memorial featuring 100 pieces of local Kirkburton sandstone.
The proposal was for the stones to be placed standing “shoulder to shoulder” to commemorate the soldiers from Kirkburton and Highburton who died in the First World War and in subsequent conflicts, and to mark the 100 years since the end of WWI. After many months and hundreds of hours of volunteer effort later that plan has been realised in a way which has exceeded all expectations.
The work on the Memorial Garden was concluded on Wednesday 7 November just in time for the first act of remembrance with the visit of children from three local schools to lay their poppy tributes.
As well as the new memorial, the project has included the creation of a new information board featuring photographs of the local soldiers who died in WWI.
A new footpath has been created leading to the raised paved area where two tables have been erected. These are intended to serve as an outdoor classroom for local schools and uniformed groups, and as a place for quiet reflection.
A new border has been created around one of the paths and has been planted with herbs.
The metal gates to the park erected by Toc H in 1965 to mark the 50th anniversary of the organisation have been repainted. The flagpole has been sanded and repainted with new fittings.
There was appeal for sponsors for the stones. The response of the people of Kirkburton and Highburton was magnificent and the target of 100 sponsors donating £30 each was soon reached.
The names of the sponsors are included on the information board. Funding was also secured from Cobbett Environmental Limited from the land fill tax. Kirklees Council, Natural Kirklees and Kirkburton Parish Council also provided support and advice.
Essential to the completion of the project has been the participation and support of local groups and individuals. The membership of BEG has grown steadily throughout the project. Some of the BEG work mornings have included as many as 17 people. There have been many hours of volunteer effort from the uniformed groups, particularly with the refurbishment of the flagpole.
Local schools have been involved, particularly school students doing the Duke of Edinburgh award and their parents too. Kirkburton Cougars Amateur Rugby League Team lent their muscle to transport the pieces of stone from Town Quarry to the Memorial Garden.
The research to find photographs of the soldiers who died involved input from Kirkburton Library and the Kirkburton History Group.
Mindlabs Media provided support for the design and production of the information board.
There are still nine of the 67 soldiers who died for whom no image has yet been found, but BEG intend to keep looking.
The project also benefitted from the generous donation of time, equipment and advice from a number of local contractors and individuals. The Lunch Box Sandwich Shop kept the volunteers supplied with free refreshments.
The refurbishment of the Memorial Garden has been a fitting tribute to those we commemorate.
The quest for images of our fallen soldiers continues
As part of the community effort, to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice in 1918, Burton Environment Group has produced a Memorial Board in recognition of those that made the ultimate sacrifice. The names of The Fallen are on our Cenotaph and are read out every year on Remembrance Sunday. But what did these men look like? They were once loved by parents, brothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, neighbours and friends. Their loss must have been devastating to the community.
Our aim was to find photos of all of the 67 villagers who lost their lives in WWI, so that their faces could be looked upon once more. In that way, their memory would live on and their sacrifices would be appreciated. Please find time to visit the gardens and take a look at our Memorial Board produced by Chris Hughes of Mindlabs Media.
Kirkburton History Group gave us our first batch of photos, then the hard work began trawling through the electronic Huddersfield Weekly Examiner newspapers for the period 1915 -1919. We went twice through the microfiche records looking for the photographs of those men from our villages.
This process became very moving. Reading their names: Carter, Cartwright, Charlesworth, Haigh, Hill, Kaye, Shaw, Wilkinson and others. A surname would occur twice, brothers from the same house? Cousins from the same family? Finding where they lived – Low Town, Linfit Lane, Thorncliffe Green, Lane Head Lane, Far Dean, Hallas, Dogley Bar, Slant Gate, Lee Lane, Low Gate, North Road and Church Green, walking past the houses they must have lived has also had a profound effect .
Of the 67 soldiers we have man-aged to find 58 images. Most of the photographs have been taken from newspaper records and were often dark and of poor quality. These images have been enhanced, by Ian Gunson, to try and present the fallen in the clearest possible way. I would like to thank Robert Carter, Andrea Tindle, John Cartwright, the Wilkinson family, Neil Burnett and Sarah McMahon for providing personal studio portraits.
But our mission is not over. We are still nine photos short. We are still looking for Benjamin Green (died 15 September 1924 from wounds received in the war), Private Willie Haigh (died 3 May 1917), Private Edgar Kaye (died 28 October 1916), Rifle-man Percy Kaye (died 20 September 1917), Gunner Herbert Marsden (died 27 October 1918), Private Aquilla Matthews (died 3 September 1916), Private David Henry Roberts (died 22 September 1918), Sergeant George Oswald Rowlands (died 3 June 1917) and Gunner Ben Swift (died 2 November 1918).