The War Memorial of Northampton Town
Update on my research by Angela Malin
I’m continuing my research into the War Memorials of the town ready for my talk on 18 July at the Museum.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at reports in newspapers. It is interesting to see the difference in how events and stories are depicted in the two local newspapers of the time – the Mercury and the Independent, the former reports more on council and civic goings in whilst the latter is more people orientated.
Whilst there was a need for the town to commemorate its dead, it is clear to see that life goes on. There was much concern in the year or two after the Armistice over the lack of employment opportunities for disabled ex-soldiers and the need for additional housing now with the great influx of returning servicemen.
There is little coverage on how the costs for the various memorials were met. For some, I have been able to find subscription lists where parishioners paid a few pence a week as and when they could, supplemented by fundraising events. Occasionally, the cost was met by the family of one of those killed in the war as a way of honouring their memory.
Decisions also needed to be made by the organising committee on the form of memorial – should it be a stone cross outside, a tablet on the church wall inside, perhaps a stained glass window or new reredos. Many parishes erected plaques listing those who served as well as commemorating those who died in service.
Unbelievably, it took until May 1938, just a year before the outbreak of the Second War World for the Memorial to those men of the Borough of Northampton to be unveiled in Abington Square.