04/02/2019

Cheswick Place provides a fitting new home for war memorial stones

The official opening of a new memorial commemorating the men of Warwickshire who fought in the Boer Wars was revealed to the local community on Sunday 20th January.

The Cheswick Green Memorial, which is located at an entrance to Bloor Homes’ Cheswick Place development in Cheswick Green, Solihull, incorporates the stones of the existing memorial that dates back more than a century, though in more recent years has lain on the ground in a number of pieces.

With many people from the local community attending, as well as the Parish Council, Local Council and serving and retired military personnel, yhe new memorial gardens were officially opened by Mr Jonathan Leese. The stones stood in the garden of his family home in Cheswick Green for many years prior to their relocation to the site of Bloor Homes current Cheswick Place development in 2011.  

An exhibition charting the history of the stones was also on display at Cheswick Green Village Hall, for residents who were interested in finding out more. There are currently plans for the exhibition boards to be permanently on display in the Village Hall.

The Mayor of Solihull - Councillor Mrs Flo Nash, Cheswick Green Parish Council Chairman Margaret Gosling and Nick Rawlings, Planning Director for Bloor Homes Western provided an overview of the work that has gone on to restore the stones and to create a fitting new site for the memorial.

Nick Rawlings commented: “As part of our development at Cheswick Place, and in consultation with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and Cheswick Green Parish Council, the memorial stones were removed from our site early in in 2018 for restoration by local stonemasons Steve Allard & Son prior to their re-location and re-erection as a War Memorial

“Their new home at one of the entrances to Cheswick Place ensures they can be seen and enjoyed by everyone in the local community. Our thanks go to everyone who was involved in the relocation of the memorial, in particular John Pettinger for his work ‘Saving the Stones’ which uncovers the history of the stones and prompted attention towards their restoration. 

We are delighted with the shared objective and combined efforts to restore the memorial and I hope people  will take the time to visit and reflect on the sacrifices made by the men of Warwickshire and their families in serving their country during the Boar Wars."

Erected more than a century ago, the memorial comprises one tall column and 12 smaller stones and honours the men of Warwickshire who fought in the Boer Wars in South Africa between 1895 and 1902. 

Created around 1907, the stones were made from pillars that once formed part of the Old Law Courts and Public Offices in Moor Street, Birmingham, which were demolished in the spring of that year.The memorial was a feature of The Mount Cottage Farm Pleasure Gardens, which were built in 1904 by Mr Philip Baker, a Birmingham lawyer, who acquired some land at Cheswick Green to develop the gardens, which included tennis courts, a ballroom, rooms offering refreshments, as well as the memorial.

At the end of the First World War, much of the land was sold off to ex-servicemen and a house was built on the site of The Victoria Cross Gardens, with the monument remaining in the home’s back garden until its removal in May 2011 as part of the development of Cheswick Place.