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Wednesday 23 January 2008

Beattie & Co, masons of Carlisle

Following the armistice of November, 1918 communities throughout Britain set up committees to debate the manner in which men's service and death should be commemorated. As is self evident from surviving examples the most popular by far, when it could be afforded, was the monumental memorial. Though some folk were able to approach local architects such as Harry Paley, WG Collingwood or Curwen of Kendal & Heversham for a one-off design, many simply approached local monumental masons whose services had been employed for years in the production of family headstones and grave markers. Firms such as Beattie of Carlisle and James Swallow of Windermere were probably swamped by demand but, for a couple of years, the creation of war memorials was very lucrative for these small businesses . The advertisement shown here, from the Carlisle Diocesan Calendar of 1920, suggests the importance of such contracts. Nice to see them describing themselves as 'sculptors'; don't know what the artistic elite would make of that!
As the advertisement states, examples of Beatties' work is evident in cemeteries and churches throughout the north of Cumbria and they would have been a natural choice for many of these towns and villages, as Swallow was in central Lakeland. Indeed, it is easy to pick out Beattie's memorials by the prominence given to martial symbols or trophies. They are almost a trademark. In the case of Aikton, shown here, a 'tin hat' and an Officer's sword. The firm generally signed their memorials rather discreetly on the lowest step or course of stonework at the rear of the memorial.

The picture on the advert shows a guy working on the memorial for Botchergate, Carlisle. The company is still going, from premises on Warwick Road.


Anonymous said...


SueH said...

I just came across your blog - what a treasure trove. I'm especially interested in this post, as it concerns Beattie's. My grandfather and his brother set up the business in Murrell Hill before moving to Warwick Road. I'd love to get a copy of the advert you've featured here - it's not often that I come across something new, and I don't think anyone in the family has seen this!

SueH at I refuse to go quietly!

Twitter – @Librarymaid

Louis said...

Hi! Thanks! Don't do tweets = your email?

SueH said...

We're just up in Carlisle for a few days, and then over the Border to Langholm, hoping to get a look at some more Beattie-related memorials; plus 'pay our respects' to the premises in Warwick Road ;-)

(did you get my email address OK?)