Birkenhead war memorial

Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial Birkenhead war memorial

Birkenhead’s Great War memorial, a drinking fountain, was unveiled on the civic reserve at Highbury corner on 14 April 1927. The unveiling was undertaken by local resident Mrs M. Neal, a widow who had lost two sons during the war.

Frank Finch, the borough’s town clerk and engineer, had designed the structure. The first tier was a rough-hewn block of granite mounted on two octagonal concrete steps. One side of the block was inset with a polished granite slab supporting a tap and a bowl. The second tier comprised four polished red granite columns symbolising Duty, Service, Fidelity and Justice, interspersed with polished black slabs bearing dedicatory inscriptions. The third tier was an ornately shaped bronze standard incorporating motifs of wreaths and olive leaf. This supported an electric globe that was lit from sunset until midnight.

The borough’s Anzac Day service was held at the civic reserve until 1958, when it was moved to the newly opened Birkenhead War Memorial Park. The First World War memorial drinking fountain does not display the names of the fallen – these can be found in the shrine at the war memorial park.

Sources: ‘Birkenhead Heroes’, Auckland Star, 22/4/1927, p. 10; ‘To Those Who Fell: Memorial at Birkenhead’, NZ Herald, 23/4/1927, p. 12; ’War Memorial Unveiled’, NZ Herald, 26/4/1927, p. 14; ‘Birkenhead War Memorial’, NZ Architectural and Building Review, vol. 1, no. 12, June 1927, p. 8; Muriel Fisher, Birkenhead, Auckland, 1969, pp. 23, 35-7, 83, 95; Phillip D. Jackson, North Shore War Memorials, the author, 1991, B1/1-4 

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