After the impressive ceremony that saw Darwen’s newest war memorial unveiled on 1st July the Friends of Darwen Cemetery were delighted to received further good news this week when Historic England announced that the Park Road Methodist Church’s War Memorial had been awarded Grade 2 status.
In 2003 there was concern that the memorial was going to be moved to Staffordshire.
Through the efforts of David and Karimeh Foster the memorial was saved and in now located in the town’s western cemetery.
The memorial was unveiled on 22nd October 1921 and contains 15 names including James Slater (38) who the oldest and had been awarded the Military Medal and one of the youngest was James Gledhill Doody who was 18 when he enlisted in 1915. He went to France in June and died of his wounds in September 1915. His father was the Head Gardner at the Cemetery and they lived in the South Lodge, located behind the current site of the memorial.
The Park Road memorial stood outside the Park Road Methodist church even when it closed In 1989. The church was sold and the Church was converted into a workshop and private dwelling. The new owner suggested that the memorial be moved and at first to was going to the National Arboretum but a local campaign suggested it stay in Darwen.
The local army engineers brought heavy lifting gear and it was finally found a home opposite the Cross of Sacrifice in Darwen Western Cemetery.
As a grade 2 monument it now is part of Darwen’s heritage and is listed accordingly to be preserved and cared for as part of the national monument.
FODC July 2018