Kimberley War Memorial is a remarkable and unusual landmark in the centre of the town, and was Grade II listed in 1987.
History and Construction
The site chosen for the War Memorial at the corner of what is now Main Street/Greens Lane was formerly the site of a spring fed pond. By around 1890 the pond had been filled in and replaced by a roadside stone water trough.
In 1911 the site was chosen for the ceremonial planting of an oak tree to mark the Coronation of King George V and became known as Coronation Oak Corner.
Following the Great War (World War I) Armistice, to commemorate the millions who died, memorials became common place in communities large and small. Kimberley was no exception. The site of the coronation oak was chosen as the site for the new monument.
Nottingham architects Brewill & Bailey came up with the unique domed memorial supported by 6 columns and surmounted by a 4-dial clock we see today. The builders were Pask & Thorpe (stonemasons, Nottingham), together with Rowland Bros., (builders, Kimberley.) G Cope & Sons, Nottingham, supplied the clock. (The mechanical clock was replaced by an electrically driven movement during the latter half of the 20th century). Building work commenced in September 1920. The total cost of the finished Memorial was £1,200-1921 (£60,251-2021) raised by public appeal.
At a Kimberley Parish Council meeting, 20 July 1921, a letter was read from Mr.T.Lee, Secretary to the War Memorial Committee, asking the Council to accept the Memorial as a gift.
Dedication and Opening of the Memorial
On Saturday 10 September 1921, a combined service was held at the Nottingham Road United Methodist Church, conducted by Rev. Frederic Hart, Rector of Kimberley, and Rev. W. Reed, Ilkeston. Following the service, the community gathered at the Memorial where dedication prayers were given by the Rev. Hart.
Following the dedication service, Major F.Hanson, Chairman of The Kimberley War Memorial Committee, addressed the gathering,
“When the subject of the Memorial was raised, it was felt that a lasting monument was the only fitting thing by which to revere the memory of the brave lads who laid down their lives, and by the generosity of the people of Kimberley it was made possible to erect that which they now see before them.”
He also “wished it to be understood that the names inscribed on the Memorial were of those who had died and who actually enlisted from Kimberley. It would have been too greater thing to have placed thereon the names of all who had died who were natives of Kimberley. The Memorial indeed stood as monument of thanksgiving to all Kimberley lads who had fought for their King and Country and had been spared to return”.
Major F.Hanson went on to introduce and invite Lt.Col. Sir Henry Dennis Readett-Bayley K.B.E., DL., J.P. to unveil their Memorial. Sir Dennis then unveiled the Memorial by removing the Union Flag from the central pillar.
After addressing all the gathered Kimberley families, many of whom were still suffering grief, the last post followed by reveille were then sounded by the Bugle Party of the Robin Hoods.
Sir Dennis then laid a wreath of laurel leaves and carnations on the base of the Monument. Other wreaths followed in memory of the fallen.
World War II
Following World War 2 the inscribed names were replaced with 3 bronze Plaques giving the names of Kimberley men whose lives had been lost in both World Wars.
The Memorial and Plaques were rededicated by the Archdeacon of Nottingham, John Henry Lawrence Philips, M.A., and Kimberley Parish Council Chairman, Cllr. Ernest James Flatt, at 3.0 pm. Sunday 22 July 1951.
The monument is recorded on the Historic England Register of Listed Buildings
Photos from recent Remembrance Day events