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Wednesday 25 June 2008

Day out in Dalton - part 3

The principal Great War memorial in Dalton is set in a small garden on Station Rd on land that was gifted by the Furness Railway Company. In April 1921 the contract for its design was given to Oakley of Barrow.

As often encountered with the construction of memorials there was a deal of discussion around the design and difficulties with finance. In March 1921 a meeting of the War Memorial Committee was rather preoccupied withg the cost of landscaping the site, some £400, against £600 for the memorial itself. At that time £780 had been raised and there was a suggestion from Mr Spencer that 1d be added to the rates, already 3s 6d in the £, to cover the outstanding cost. Councillor Fisher thought such an idea was 'repugnant' and Mrs Layland, secretary, suggested that they should undertake 'yet another appeal to a number of people in the town who were well able to give and who had contributed nothing at all'. In the meantime, however, it was agreed that all the churches in the town be approached to have collections on April 30th, 'Forget-me-not Day', to raise funds for the memorial. It was further agreed that Dalton Urban District Council would maintain it in perpetuity, a task now undertaken by Barrow in Furness District Council.

Just opposite Dalton's memorial is a very nicely proportioned Georgian house, set back behind a large front garden. This is the Conservative Club where there is another memorial, a rather pleasant illuminated item with a picture of King George V, cut from a magazine, as a centrepiece. It is unsigned but must have been put together by a member of the club.

Dalton is a typical example of the diversity of memorialisation after 1914 as various organisations strove to establish their place in the Great Sacrifice as a statement of engagement with local and national endeavours in the war. There is certainly a sense of ownership of the soldiers. Nor is Dalton parts 1.2 & 3 likely to be the totality of memorials; local schools will almost certainly have established rolls of serving men (& women) after 1915 as will the various non-conformist chapels. Whether they survive, in attic or cellar, must remain unknown although I have a memory of a newspaper article in the North West Evening Mail some ten or more years ago (before I began to obsess) describing the discovery of two memorials in an attic in the town. I will try to trace them.

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