6 November 2018

Special status for city's War Memorials

Four public spaces in Brighton & Hove have been designated as Centenary Fields as part of a national initiative to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.

Old Steine Gardens and War Memorial, Patcham Peace Gardens, The Chattri and Easthill Park War Memorial, are among the hundreds of sites across the country to be given the special status.

The Centenary Fields initiative is a nationwide scheme being led by the Royal British Legion and Fields in Trust. The project aims to secure permanent public spaces to honour the memory of the millions who lost their lives in World War One.

Special Fields In Trust signs are being installed at the four sites. On Tuesday (November 6th)   Councillor Gill Mitchell, Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment Committee and Councillor Mary Mears, Chair of The Brighton and Hove branch of the Royal British Legion, attended the unveiling of the sign at the Old Steine War Memorial. 

Cllr Mitchell said: “We are very proud that these four precious sites have been given this special status and included in the Fields in Trust Centenary Fields programme.

“Protecting these  unique public spaces in this way will not only provide further recognition as memorials but help to safeguard them for future generations.”

Centenary Fields which have been protected as part of the programme include war memorials, parks and recreation grounds, memorial gardens, playing fields or other green spaces with a significant World War I link.

Old Steine Gardens - Home to Brighton War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1922 to honour those who died in WW1, and is the venue for annual remembrance services. The site also includes a commemorative stone and plaque in memory of Captain Theodore Wright who was awarded the Victoria Cross in WW1.

The Chattri Memorial - During WW1 injured Indian soldiers were treated at military hospitals set up at the Royal Pavilion and the Dome. The Hindus and Sikhs who died were cremated on the Downs and in 1921 the Chattri memorial was built on the cremation site. Memorial services are held every year to honour the dead.

Easthill Park - Home to Portslade War Memorial where regular remembrance services are held every year. The memorial was moved to the park in 1954 from its previous location in Trafalgar Road.

Patcham Peace Garden - Purchased in the 1920s to create a memorial to peace following the Great War. The columns and small temple were purchased from the 1924 Wembley Exhibition and statues were relocated from the old aquarium.

Speaking at the launch of the Centenary Fields programme, back in 2014, Fields in Trust President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, said: “The Centenary Fields programme aims to save in perpetuity scores of memorial spaces around the country.  Each moment of play or leisure that takes place on a Memorial Field is, in a way, an act of remembrance.

“I am delighted that Fields in Trust have identified these Centenary Fields as a vital part of our national heritage and well-being, which we cannot take for granted.  I encourage local authorities to support this cause and to safeguard these living spaces of remembrance for generations to come.”

For more information, including an online interactive story map. At 11 am each day a different Centenary Field’s story is being added. The Chattri was added on Sunday 4th November.