Whitehaven War Memorial

The Whitehaven Cenotaph was erected in 1923, in Castle Park, in memory of those that had lost their lives in the First World War. Names were added to the memorial after the Second World War. The cenotaph is a Grade II listed monument. The memorial is a well executed design, featuring good stonework, especially the sculptural representation of Peace.

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. One such memorial was erected just inside the entrance to Castle Park, the memorial and park being anonymously gifted to the town.

The memorial cost £1,000 to build and was unveiled on 2 November 1923 by Major General Solly-Flood and dedicated by Reverend R Oliver. It is not known who designed or built the memorial, although the figure of Peace is thought to have been by a local artist. A lead casket was placed in the foundations containing the local Roll of Honour, a photograph of the Mayor, a coin and a local newspaper.

The memorial is located just inside Castle Park, facing the main, south-western entrance. The cenotaph is in the form of a column of square section with a low pyramidal cap crowned by a wreath, with further wreath-foliage embellishment to the top and base of the column.

The south-western face, facing the entrance to the park, has a relief carving of a female figure holding a wreath: a personification of Peace. Above is inscribed TO OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD and at her feet 1914 – 1918. The base of the column is flared and set on a shallow step that is inscribed LEST WE FORGET. Immediately above there is an added stone of a different colour that is inscribed 1939-1945. The memorial is raised up on a plain, uninscribed base. There are no further inscriptions, the three other faces of the memorial being plain. The encircling brick kerbing is a later alteration that is not included in the listing.

Whitehaven War Memorial, 1925
Whitehaven Cenotaph, 1925


Whitehaven had been small harbour and fishing village from 13th century or earlier. Expansion began in mid-17th century with building of piers by Lowthers 1632-4 and 1679-81 and granting of market charter 1660. By the 1680s it had grown rapidly, expanding from village of c.30 households in early 17th century to a town of over 1,000 inhabitants by 1685, which more than doubled to 2,281 by 1696. Sir John Lowther had laid out grid of streets by 1680s, making Whitehaven the earliest planned new town in post-medieval Britain.

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