Memorial plan moves a step closer

The site of the proposed new Bombardment memorial.
The site of the proposed new Bombardment memorial.

FINER details for a new 15ft memorial to the hundreds killed or seriously injured in the Bombardment of Hartlepool have been agreed.

Hartlepool Borough Council is looking to mark the attack’s 100th anniversary with the memorial, which will cost around £60,000.

Now councillors sitting on the regeneration services committee have agreed the wording and the design of the memorial to those who lost their lives on December 16, 1914.

The proposed site for the new memorial is on land behind the cannon next to the Heugh Gun Battery on the Headland.

David Worthington, the council’s head of culture and information, said the memorial would be constructed from granite cladding sections around a solid core or solid granite sections.

It was originally planned to feature four bronze panels, three depicting scenes 
from the James Clarke Bombardment Painting and the fourth with the following words:

“This memorial commemorates all those across the Borough of Hartlepool who were killed or wounded due to the naval bombardment of the 16th December 1914.

“At least 114 civilians, nine soldiers and seven sailors were killed, with 500 others being seriously wounded.

“Contemporaries truthfully stated that no local family was untouched by the events of that day.

“The scenes depicted on the sides are taken from local artist James Clark’s painting “The Bombardment of the Hartlepools”(1915), which portrays the attack as it occurred close to this spot.

“The figures symbolise those who found themselves caught up in the attack, young and old, civilian or military.

“We will remember them.”

Labour councillor Jim Ainslie, who represents the Headland & Harbour ward, said he felt the opening line should read either ‘This memorial commemorates all those across the Borough of Hartlepool and West Hartlepool’ or ‘The Hartlepools’.

Mr Worthington agreed it was a more accurate reflection of the time and committee members opted for ‘The Hartlepools’ instead of the ‘Borough of Hartlepool’ for the wording.

The memorial will also have badges from the services who lost personnel that 
day including the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the Royal Navy, the Royal Engineers and The Durham Light Infantry.

Councillors were asked to consider three options for the top of the memorial, a flat top, a tapered top and a lighthouse-style top. They opted for the lighthouse-style top.

Hartlepool council has set aside £60,000 to underwrite the cost of the memorial so work can start, with the hope the cost can be covered by commercial sponsorship.

Subject to planning approval, it is hoped the work will be finished in November in time for the official opening on December 16 this year.

At the meeting, there was a resident query about the position of the memorial and the potential planning implication on a neighbouring property, but Labour councillor Robbie Payne, the committee chairman, said any planning issues were a matter for the planning committee.

He added: “We are here to pick the design, not influence the planning process.”

Meanwhile, there was also committee support for a version of the Seaham Harbour Memorial in Hartlepool,

But Damien Wilson, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said there was insufficient funding available for a memorial of that scale and the timescale to delivery it would be between 18-months and two years.