Chesterfield Town Hall War Memorial

After the Second World War, there was great debate about how the dead would be best remembered – and whether the local council would agree to a budget. As the people of Chesterfield found out, not everything always went to plan…

1946 – Major J G Guy suggested that an inscription to the Fallen would have more substance than names, so nobody was overlooked. So today we have the inscription, “They were a wall unto us both by night and day.” Samuel 25:16.

16/04/1948 – Mr Rollason had been campaigning for a war memorial for 2 years, and complained that there was now ‘dilly-dallying’ on behalf of the Town War Memorial sub-committee. This came after several meetings being delayed as the vice-chairman was not able to attend: “It seems that if the sub-committee has not a vice-chairman to preside at a meeting the town will not get a Memorial.”

04/04/1951 – It was decided to appeal to the Ministry of Local Government for a £12,000 war memorial and Rest Garden. This would be repaid over 10 years.

29/06/1951 – The Ministry rejected the request for funding: “It is understood that the Ministry has informed the council, in effect, that they have no statutory authroity to erect a war memorial […] not prepare to give loan sanction for such an expensive scheme, but they might be prepared to consider a scheme, to cost not more than £3,500, for a Rest Garden.” One person suggested the erection of a sports stadium.

18/09/1953 – The newly elected Mayor Swale launched a petition, appealing for contributions for a war memorial to be erected in Rose Hill, costing £3,000.
“The Council are not allowed by law to pay out of rate for the cost of the provision of a War Memorial, though they would bear the cost of its future maintenance.”

The names of all those who donated money towards the memorial had their names published in the local newspaper. One person left their donation under ‘A Widow’.