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Cenotaph centenary

Created on 30/03/2021 @ 10:51

Local history enthusiast, Alan Crowe, throws light on the focal point of our annual Remembrance celebrations:

Rising high above the town from its majestic position Welshpool's War Memorial celebrates the 100th anniversary of its dedication in 2021.

Sited by the steep flight of steps from Church Street to St. Mary's Church (an entrance created in the 1770s), the War Memorial was built to a design of Sir Aston Webb, a former president of the Royal Academy, at a cost of £864, and dedicated in 1921. It is built in the style of a mercat-cross, with statues appearing in the tabernacle work above.

These statues are said to be the four old saints of ancient Powis, but their names do not appear to have been recorded on any document relating to this memorial. It may be conjectured that St Llewelyn, St Cynfelin and St Aelhaiarn are three of the four, and the fourth is either St Garmon or St Beuno. It has not been possible to distinguish the statues! The names of those who died in the two world wars from the Borough of Welshpool are recorded in panels according to the parishes or townships in which they resided. At that time the borough was the largest borough in terms of size in England and Wales, comprising the parishes of Welshpool and Guilsfield, and parts of the parishes of Castle Caereinion, Buttington and Pool Quay.

Often referred to as one of the greatest architects of his era and highly regarded by his contemporaries and historians alike, Sir Aston Webb was also responsible for the designing of the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, Admiralty Arch in London, the Victorian Law Courts in Birmingham, the front of Buckingham Palace as we know it today, and the Victoria Memorial in London’s Mall. He died in 1930.

The memorial was extended to add the names of those who lost their lives during the Second World War.

A new memorial for those who have lost their lives on active service since 1945 can be found in the form of plaques on a wall in the town's Memorial Garden in Howell Drive.

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