Clock Tower and steps 2.jpg

Commemorating the fallen from World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945)

The Clock Tower

War Memorial

Clock Tower 1.jpg

THE PROPOSAL FOR A MEMORIAL

In a meeting of the local council in 1916, Councillor Joseph Sheldon proposed a motion that a committee be formed to come up with a suitable way of commemorating the local men who had left home to fight in the Great War, and who had not come home again.  On the 13th November, a public meeting was held in the Works School where, after much debate, Mr. Sheldon moved that a committee should be formed to draw up various schemes and report back.  Nothing more seems to have happened, and it was over two years later that another meeting was held, in February 1919. 

The original proposal was for a Memorial Hall to be erected, which would seat about 1500 people and have committee rooms, swimming baths and slipper baths.  Things dragged on, and there was a lot of apathy from the local people, with poor attendance at the meetings, and in the end the council rejected the idea of a public hall, deciding instead that a clock tower would be erected at land on the corner of Bocking Hill and Nanny Hill. The plans were approved in December 1920 and subscribers were sought to raise money, which was not initially widely popular, but eventually things progressed.  The land was donated by Mr. R. H. R. Rimington Wilson of Broomhead Hall.

 

LAYING THE FOUNDATION STONE

There was a well-attended ceremony when F. S. Scott Smith laid the foundation stone on Saturday 14th July 1923 at 2.30pm.  He was the general manager of Stocksbridge Works, and was assisted in laying the stone by Joseph Sheldon, Chairman of the Council.  According to the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, there were around 3,000 people present, including  ex-servicemen, 100 members of the British Legion, members of the local council and representatives from local Friendly Societies, the Stocksbridge Choral Union, Boy Scouts and school children.  Mr. Joseph Sheldon opened proceedings.  After a reading of the Roll of Honour, “Last Post” and “Reveille” were sounded by buglers from the York and Lancaster Regiment from Pontefract.

1923
1923

A postcard commemorating the laying of the foundation stone on Saturday 14th July 1923 at 2.30pm

1923
1923

Some of the crowds in attendance at the laying of the foundation stone.

1923
1923

Crowds at the laying of the foundation stone

1923
1923

F. S. Scott Smith laying the foundation stone

16.7.1923
16.7.1923

An article from the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on the laying of the foundation stone

Click on a photograph to enlarge it

THE UNVEILING AND DEDICATION

The tower was not open in time for the Armistice Day service on the 11th November 1923; instead, the memorial service took place at Stocksbridge Parish Church.  Among those present at St. Matthias were the members and officials of the Urban District Council, British Legion, Boy Scouts, Friendly Societies and others.  The Roll of Honour was read by Major McIntyre and the “Last Post” blown by Bugler E. Batty.  The band accompanied the singing and also played Sullivan’s “In Memoriam.”  The preacher was the Vicar, the Rev. J. G. Roberts.

Five months after the foundation stone was laid, the memorial was completed, and the unveiling and dedication ceremony took place on Saturday 1st December 1923 at 2.30pm.  Joining the crowds who gathered at the site - around 4,000 people turned up  - there were ex-servicemen (proudly bearing their medals), the widows and parents of those who had lost their lives, members of Stocksbridge Urban District Council, the Bishop of Sheffield, Stocksbridge Brass Band, the Stocksbridge Choral Union, Boy Scouts, local worthies, and representatives from various organisations.  A special area had been reserved for relatives of the fallen.  Some members of the Stocksbridge Club and Institute football club accepted an invitation to attend the ceremony, but this resulted in their club being fined for failing to play their scheduled match with Ewden Valley in a game on that day.  

 

Joseph Sheldon opened the proceedings, and buglers from the York and Lancaster Regiment sounded the Last Post.  Hymns were sung and the unveiling ceremony was performed by Mr. Rimington Wilson.  Mr. Wilson said no finer site nor design could have been chosen for a memorial to the men who had written a glorious page in the history of Stocksbridge and district. 

Mr. Wynyard Dixon, the architect, presented the key to Mr. Rimington Wilson (who then unlocked the oak door) and the Memorial Deeds were handed to the Council.   The Bishop of Sheffield then dedicated the memorial to the memory of those men and the nurse of the district who fell.  Col. C. Hodgkinson then asked for the observance of one minute's silence.  Major H. McIntyre started the clock and chimes, and the buglers sounded the reveille.  The brass band then headed a procession down the hill to St. Matthias church, where another service was held.  The order of the procession, printed in the Souvenir Booklet, was that the band was followed by the widows and parents of the fallen, ex-servicemen, the bishop and the ministers, members of the council, the War Memorial Committee and the Choral Union.  Large numbers were unable to find room in the church, and the aisles and naves were filled by people standing.  The Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported: "The service was inspiring and impressive, especially the splendid singing of choirs comprising the Stocksbridge Choral Union.  Ministers of all denominations were present and took part in the service."

The cost of the tower was £1,700.  It commands a view over the valley, has four clock faces and is illuminated at night.  On the heaviest bell with which the hours are struck is cast the following quotation: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them”.   It was said that the chimes from the clock would always recall the sacrifice and heroism of the war, and they would never forget the men who fell.  

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Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923

Taken at the unveiling ceremony

Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923

Taken at the unveiling ceremony

1923
1923

The figure of the bugler can be seen at the top of the tower (or possibly two figures). Printed in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph 3rd December 1923

Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923
Clock Tower 1923

A commemorative cardboard souvenir of the unveiling of the Clock Tower, about A4 in size. This has been handed down in my family and my great uncle Winfield Evans is named on the Roll of Honour.

Roll of Honour
Roll of Honour

WWI Roll of Honour, a close up of the previous photograph.

Page 1
Page 1

This very tatty souvenir programme from the unveiling in December 1923 is in my possession, having been handed down through the family. My great uncle Winfield Crawshaw was killed in 1917 and the family would have attended this ceremony and received the booklet and the board containing the Roll of Honour and a photograph.

Page 2
Page 2

ROLL OF HONOUR WW1

The official souvenir programme lists 107 names.  There are some inconsistencies with the names engraved on the plaques which are affixed to the Clock Tower itself.  These inconsistencies (in bold) are addressed at the end of this list of names. 

 

John Adams; W. Attwood; Alfred Beckett; Arthur Brailsford; William Bramwell; David Ivor Brearley; Thornton Brooke; Sidney Burgin; Anthony Button; Arthur Button; E. R. Buxton; Lucy Castledine; Fred Castledine; Bernie E. Catton; Arthur Couldwell; Oliver Crapper; Winfield Crawshaw; Arnold Crossley; Donald Crossley; William Curley; J. Davies [James]; Leonard Duffield; Mark Dyche; Gam Dyson; Oswald Dyson; Priam Dyson; Frank Eastwood; Charles England; Fred Fieldsend; T. Harry Finkill; Harry Firth; William H. France; James Green; J. Gregory; David E. Gill; Eric L. Gill; S. Haigh; N. Harper [printed booklet, or W. Harper on clock tower]; J. Harrison; Fred Hart; W. H. Hatchett; Harry Herbert; Walter Hey; Walter R. Hill; Friend Hirst; Fred Hollins; George Howarth; Edwin Hukins; Ernest Jackson; Robert Jackson; Walter Johnson; S. G. Jones; Jesse H. Kenworthy; Thomas Keogh; Alex A. Leather; [Arthur Button appears here on the Clock Tower, out of alphabetical order and at the bottom of the plaque]; Stanley V. Lester; Albert Liles; Frank Lievesley; Thomas Maycock; H. Micklethwaite; Thomas Milnes; Michael Maloney; Alfred Morton; Charles F. Murrain; Harry Newton; Clifford Orchard; Thomas Pearson; Amos Perkins; Spencer Race; John Raynes; Leonard Robinson; James Roebuck; Milton Rodgers; Frank Sanderson; Lawrence Sanderson; Willie Sanderson; Dyson Schofield; A. B. Senior; Samuel Senior; Benton Shaw; Douglas Shaw; Eric Sheldon; Harry Smith; Horace Smith; Arthur Smith; Alfred Sutton; Charlie Tattersall; Herbert Thickett; Ernest Tingle; William H. Topps; H. Turner; Bertram Vause; John Wallace; Harry Ward; Clifford Watkinson; Ernest Watson; G. Whittaker; Joseph Whittaker; Percy Whittaker; William J. Williams; James H. Withers; Joseph A. Withers; Henry Oscar Withers; G. Woodcock; Percy Woodhead; William J. Woodhead; Alfred Wright. [At the bottom of the second plaque, the Clock Tower has the names Lucy Castledine, Cyril Dickinson and Cyril Spivey tagged on].  With the names Dickinson and Spivey, that makes 109 names in total.

 

Cyril Dickenson died in 1922. Cause of death was Syncope due to a disabled lung arising from wounds received in action.

 

Cyril Spivey died in 1921.  He was invalided home suffering from valvular disease of the heart, and was only discharged from Wharncliffe War Hospital a few days prior to his death.

 

Arthur Button died in August 1918. I don’t know why Arthur Button’s name appears out of alphabetical order on the Clock Tower.  Michael Parker, writing in his book Poppy People 2 (2009) says, “it’s somewhat puzzling to discover that whilst Arthur’s name is listed in the Roll of Honour that appears in the Clock Tower War Memorial dedication service programme, nevertheless his name does not appear on either the Clock Tower or Bolsterstone war memorials.” NOTE: See the end of this page for further information.

 

Lucy Castledine died 24 October 1918.  She had been nursing wounded soldiers at Firvale Military Hospital for 2 years.  Her brother Fred had been killed in action two months previously.

ARMISTICE DAY 1924

Prior to the service in November, the architect of the tower, Mr. Wynyard Dixon, wrote to the Council to complain about the large number of weeds that were growing around the Memorial.  The Vicar wrote to them too, asking that vases be bought in which flowers could be left, rather than the current practice of using jam jars.

On Tuesday 11th November 1924, the vicar conducted the Armistice Day service.  A large number of people turned out.  The siren at Stocksbridge Works sounded at 11am to signal the two minutes' silence; the silence was observed in the works, when all the machinery was stopped, as well as at the service.  The town hall and the works flew the Union Flag at half-mast.

Captain S. Aylmer laid a wreath on behalf of the British Legion, as did Ben Wood, who had lost a leg in the war.  From the top of the tower Bugler G. E. Batty sounded the Last Post and the Reveille, the service being closed by singing the National Anthem.

THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME 1926

The Battle of the Somme took place on the 1st July 1916, and ten-year anniversary memorial services were held in 1926.  Many Yorkshire units played a part in this battle, sustaining terrible losses.  The Sheffield City Battalion’s position was in front of the village of Serre, and of 758 who went into action only 34 returned unscathed.  On Sunday 4th July 1926, memorial services were held in various parts of the city by ex-Servicemen’s associations to honour their fallen comrades.

 

In Stocksbridge, there was a large attendance of ex-Servicemen and others at a memorial service at the Clock Tower.  The service was conducted by the vicar of Stocksbridge, the Rev. J. G. Roberts.  Stocksbridge Prize Band was in attendance.  A wreath was placed on the War Memorial by Mr. Ernest Jubb, who lost an arm in the battle of the Somme.   

Click on a photograph to enlarge it

1924 Armistice Day Service
1924 Armistice Day Service
1924 Armistice Day
1924 Armistice Day
1924 Armistice Day Service
1924 Armistice Day Service

THE GARDENS ARE LAID OUT

Some time after the Clock Tower was built, it became apparent that Memorial seemed somewhat incomplete, and Mr. Rimington Wilson agreed to sell the surrounding field, containing about 1 ½ acres.  The price was £200, but he returned £50 of this to the Committee, to be spent on landscaping. 

 

The gardens were formally opened in 1927 by Joseph Sheldon, who had done so much to get the clock tower built in the first place.  He was the oldest man on the council at this time [he was around 80 years old].

The Penistone, Stocksbridge & Hoyland Express (1st October 1927) called the Clock Tower "one of the finest Memorials in England" and reported: "The Memorial is approached by a large and spacious flight of steps enclosed by ornamental stone walls, with recesses in which seats are placed.  The steps to the clock tower are built in concrete, and there are four entrances.  There is also a large centre platform with pool.  The west entrance is marked by craze flagged approach stone steps, with stone pillars for gates.  Lamps are to be fixed on semi-circular brackets.  Roomy walks are provided and a band stand erected.  The whole work has been designed by the Surveyor (Mr. H. M. Aitchison) and carried out in a very efficient manner by the workmen of the Council under the Surveyor's supervision.  The emblem of the British Legion is embodied in the scheme, this floral part of the grounds will be maintained by the Stocksbridge Branch of the British Legion."

The paper reported on the generous support various organisations and individuals who contributed towards the gardens.  The Stocksbridge and District's Tradesmen's Association donated 100 rose trees and £15 to defray cost of lamp; Stocksbridge Co-operative Society contributed the fountain, sundial, bird bath, and also donated £10; Mr. Willis Morton and Mr. Albert Foster donated some violas; rhododendrons and other shrubs came from the late Mr. R. H. R. Wilson; Mr. G. H. Asher and Mr. George Watkinson sent wallflowers, marguerites and delphiniums.  The ornamental caps were worked by George Beever, and Harry Armitage supplied the stone.  Mr. W. Chaffey supplied the goldfish for the ornamental pool.

About 4,000 people attended the opening of the gardens.

Click on a photograph to enlarge it

1927 opening of the gardens
1927 opening of the gardens
1927 opening of the gardens
1927 opening of the gardens
Clock Towerand gardens
Clock Towerand gardens

The fountain can be seen just in front of the tower. These steps and the fountain are no longer there.

Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and steps
Clock Tower and gardens
Clock Tower and gardens
Clock tower and gardens
Clock tower and gardens

THE DEATH OF EARL HAIG 29 January 1929

Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, KTGCBOMGCVOKCIE was a senior officer of the British Army, commanding the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the Western Front from late 1915 until the end of the war. He was commander during the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Arras, the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), the German Spring Offensive, and the final Hundred Days Offensive.  After retiring, he devoted the rest of his life to the welfare of ex-servicemen, and was instrumental in founding the British Legion in 1921 and also the Haig fund to provide financial assistance to ex-servicemen.  The day of his funeral was decreed a day of national mourning. 

A large crowd assembled at the Clock Tower to attend a service in his honour.

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Memorial service for Earl Haig
Memorial service for Earl Haig

Printed in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph 4th February 1929Memor

Memorial Service for Earl Haig
Memorial Service for Earl Haig

Printed in the Sheffield Independent 4th February 1929

WORLD WAR TWO - awaiting photos

LATER YEARS

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1948
1948
Rimington Row looking up Nanny Hill gard
Rimington Row looking up Nanny Hill gard

This photograph was taken from Rimington Row (now demolished), looking up Nanny Hill.

Clock tower and gardens
Clock tower and gardens
Clock Tower
Clock Tower

Looking towards the gas holders at Henholmes, Deepcar.

c1953 from Clock Tower Gardens
c1953 from Clock Tower Gardens

Looking from the clock tower gardens towards Stocksbridge, A Francis Frith postcard.

c1955
c1955

Looking down Bocking Hill to the clock tower. A Francis Frith postcard.

1953
1953

Planting trees for the coronation of Elizabeth II

1953
1953

Planting trees for the coronation of Elizabeth II

Clock tower mechanism
Clock tower mechanism

A great deal of research into the names on the Clock Tower War Memorial has been done by Michael Parker.  He published two books, "Poppy People" (2002) and an updated and revised version "The Poppy People of Bolsterstone, Deepcar and Stocksbridge Revisited: World War One" (2009).  I believe Stocksbridge Library and Sheffield Local Studies Library have reference copies but it will be as well to check before visiting.  I am able to do look-ups on request.

Private Arthur Button, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Arthur was born at Stocksbridge on the 8th September 1892.  He enlisted a month after war was declared, on the 28th August 1914, and very nearly made it to the end, being killed in August 1918, just three months before the end of the War.  He died at the age of 25 from wounds received in action in Italy on 22nd August 1918.  Arthur is buried at Cavalletto British Cemetery, Calvene, Provincia di Vincenza, Veneto, Italy.

 

Arthur’s name appears on the Roll of Honour on Stocksbridge Clock Tower War Memorial.  The surnames are in alphabetical order, but Arthur Button’s name appears at the bottom of plaque 1 (surnames Adams to Leather – he appears after Alec A. Leather).  I am told that for some reason Arthur's name was not on the original plaque, and his father fought to get it added.  The plaque had already been made, and at some point Arthur's name was added, at the end of the first plaque (surnames A-L).   His name does, however, appear in the correct alphabetical order in the Souvenir Programme and on the Commemorative Board, which were issued at the unveiling and dedication of the Clock Tower in 1923.  

 

Michael Parker, writing in his book Poppy People 2 (2009) says, “it’s somewhat puzzling to discover that whilst Arthur’s name is listed in the Roll of Honour that appears in the Clock Tower War Memorial dedication service programme, nevertheless his name does not appear on either the Clock Tower or Bolsterstone war memorials.”  In the epilogue to this book he notes that: “...there also remains the mystery of the missing surname regarding the Stocksbridge Clock Tower War Memorial list for World War One; whereby the first name of Arthur appears between the names of Alec Leather and Stanley V. Lester but the accompanying surname appears to have been cut out for some as yet unknown reason.”  [V. Lester is at the top of the next panel.]  Mr. Parker knows that the Christian name is Arthur, but does not make the connection with it being Arthur Button.  The name Button has now been added, though I do not know when this was done.  A close-up of the panel does make it look as if both names were added after the others, and it could be that the surname "fell out" of the panel at some point and was replaced.  

EDIT (November 2020): Dave Goodlad's father has suggested a possible the explanation for Arthur's name being omitted;  Perhaps the person who made the plaque had been provided with the names Anthony Button and A. Button, and assumed A. Button was a duplicated name, so he only added Anthony Button to the plaque.  He added that Arthur's father had to point out that it was a different person, and eventually Arthur's name was inserted by adding a new piece of bronze.

Additional information on Arthur from his family (Lesley Armitage, Ginny Burgin and David Goodlad.

Click on a photograph to enlarge it

Private Arthur Button postcard
Private Arthur Button postcard

Photograph from Lesley Armitage

Private Arthur Button war grave Italy
Private Arthur Button war grave Italy

Photograph from Lesley Armitage

Private Arthur Button headstone
Private Arthur Button headstone

In Bolsterstone churchyard. Photograph from Lesley Armitage

Clock Tower
Clock Tower

A close up of Arthur's name at the bottom of the alphabetical list. It does look as if the names have been added afterwards.

The following articles have been submitted to me for inclusion on this page:

JAMES DAVIES 1891-1917

by Grant Davies

grantdav66@gmail.com

PERCY V. WOODHEAD 1891-1917

by Grant Davies

grantdav66@gmail.com