A memorial to fallen soldiers in Blackhall has been protected with a Grade-II listing.
Blackhall War Memorial, in Welfare Park, has been listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 by Historic England.
The memorial has been listed because of its historic interest as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the 20th century and because of its historic association as an unusually late war memorial commemorating the community’s losses, in its public park.
A public meeting to discuss a suitable war memorial for the colliery village was called on February 9, 1948. Periodic meetings continued until September 1949, without coming to any conclusion, and on December 10, 1951 the matter was again raised by the Blackhall Branch of the British Legion.
Fundraising began and on April 19, 1952 the memorial, by the Dunelm Granite Co Ltd, was unveiled by Mr E Shinwell MP and dedicated by Reverend E D’A Staunton at an ecumenical service.
The memorial commemorates 13 local servicemen who died in the First World War, the 48 servicemen and women who died in the Second World War, eight civilian casualties of an air-raid, and one soldier who died in Korea. The memorial was fenced in 2001 and on September 7, 2011 a new plaque was dedicated in commemoration of all those who have died in more recent conflicts.
The stone memorial stands in the Welfare Park between the cricket ground and the bowling greens. It comprises of a tall Latin cross, octagonal in section with moulded terminals, rising from a pyramidal plinth that stands on a base of stone blocks which is raised on a round dias. The dias is approached from the south-east by a flight of five steps, enclosed by a low capped wall with scroll ends. A low curving wall to the rear of the monument terminates in stone piers.
The principal dedicatory inscription on the front face of the plinth reads: “To the memory of the glorious dead of Blackhall who gave their lives for King and country in the Great Wars, 1914-1918 - 1939-1945, civilian air raid victims 1939-1945 and the Korean War.”
The inscription on the face to the left lists the names of all the victims.
A rectangular stone plaque on the front face of the stone block base reads: “And in remembrance of those who have given their lives in the many conflicts since lest we forget.”
Carol Pyrah, Historic England’s planning director in the North East, said: “Over a million Britons lost their lives in the First World War. It’s important that their sacrifice is not forgotten – and that the lessons learnt during that time are as resonant now as they were then.
“The centenary programme aims to bring us together more closely as a nation to honour the lives and bravery of all those who served. War memorials are a valued part of our heritage and it is absolutely fitting that we cherish and preserve them for future generations.”
She added: “Whether we have relatives whose names are on local memorials, or who fought alongside those who died, we all have a connection with remembrance. I would urge everyone to make sure their local memorial is in good condition. If it isn’t, then Historic England, the War Memorials Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund all have grants and advice available.”