Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Eastbourne shed walls made of CWGC headstones


60 replies to this topic

#1 manchester terrier

manchester terrier

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 396 posts

Posted 26 January 2012 - 11:12 AM

Whilst browsing an "urban exploration" forum I came across THIS POST.

The building is Bedfordwell Pumping Station Eastbourne and these photos caught my attention.

This is THE SHED

This one shows CWGC headstones used in the construction of the shed wall.

Posted Image

These are close ups of two of the headstones.

Posted Image

Posted Image

The originals can be seen HERE

A bit of googleing turned up an article HERE that says the pumping station stopped pumping water in 1903 and was sold to Eastbourne Council in 1923 when it became a council depot.

I'm wondering when the shed was built and why were headstones used in its's construction. Was the site used by the CWGC prior to council ownership and these headstones were rejects that were used as building materials ? Does anyone have any ideas?

cheers

Baz

#2 CGM

CGM

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,934 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Essex

Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:34 PM

Name: MALLION
Initials: J S
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 30
Date of Death: 21/08/1918
Service No: 41274
Additional information: Son of William and Hannah Mallion; husband of Rosa Mallion, of Fen Ditton, Cambridge. Born at Fen Ditton.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. F. 16.
Cemetery: QUEENS CEMETERY, BUCQUOY

#3 joanbelge

joanbelge

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 391 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastbourne
  • Interests:Researching All Saints Belvedere War Memorial.Wild Ardnamurchan. Belgium, not just WW1 related, Belgian beer chocolate and frites! Good conversation and good food.

Posted 26 January 2012 - 07:10 PM

How intriging I live in Eastbourne and didnt know about this!!!

#4 Liz in Eastbourne

Liz in Eastbourne

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,072 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:05 PM

How intriging I live in Eastbourne and didnt know about this!!!


So do I, and nor did I. I shall get on to some fellow-members of the Local History Society immediately to see if anyone knows. As it's clear they weren't local burials, it does look as though the headstones must be rejects.The Archaeological Society article makes no comment on this aspect.
.
Coincidentally we have just been looking at a postcard of the first military burial in Eastbourne in early October 1914 - another private of the 1st Bedfordshires, wounded in the retreat from Mons. But that must just be coincidence, as he was an Eastbourne man and Mallion is from Cambridge.

Liz

#5 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,680 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:16 PM

That wall has to be unique, and well worth preserving. Shame about the moronic graffiti.
What a great find.
LF.

#6 Liz in Eastbourne

Liz in Eastbourne

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,072 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:32 PM

The other headstone appears to be to LH Sutton of the Ist Bn King's Royal Rifle Corps, died 23.3.1918, buried in Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension (from a quick CWGC check).
EDIT on the other hand perhaps not - this stone does say KRRC and looks like L Sutton, but the date is 8th August.

Liz

#7 joanbelge

joanbelge

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 391 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Eastbourne
  • Interests:Researching All Saints Belvedere War Memorial.Wild Ardnamurchan. Belgium, not just WW1 related, Belgian beer chocolate and frites! Good conversation and good food.

Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:48 PM

Please keep us posted if you find out more Liz

#8 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,680 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 26 January 2012 - 09:57 PM

From Baz's excellent post, the whole site, including the Shed containing the Grave Stones is scheduled for demolition, right now is a great time for whomever is responsible for the preservation of historical artifacts etc., in the Town be it a local official, the local MP., the Mayor, the local Historical Society, the British Legion, a wealthy local benefactor, to step in and ensure this unique wall is preserved and moved to where it can be viewed, and enjoyed as a Great War memorial for many, many years to come, especially with the 100th Anniversary of the Great War rapidly approaching. The opportunity may never presents itself again!
Once shattered by the bulldozer, those particular Grave Stones can never be replaced.
Baz did a great service finding this treasure.
LF.

#9 Dragon

Dragon

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,600 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:The Vosges and Alsace in occupation and wartime:
    http://thebluelinefrontier.wordpress.com/
    ~~~
    http://mightygwyn.zenfolio.com

    To contact the Drill Halls Project, please use the email facility on the website.

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:05 PM

Is it known how thick these particular pieces of headstone are? Simple complete headstones may not be strong enough to support a wall (depending on wall load, obviously) . If they are clearly part of a thicker slab, it might throw more light on the story. (Eg perhaps started being cut and carved then abandoned.)

It might be worth contacting SAVE to see whether anything relevant is in their records or for any advice, or even to report a building at risk.

Gwyn

#10 Liz in Eastbourne

Liz in Eastbourne

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,072 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:27 PM

I've looked at the website Baz kindly linked for us too and have already contacted other members of the Eastbourne Local History Society. There is also an Eastbourne Society which is more concerned with conservation and town planning issues, and we'll contact them too. A post on the Urban Exploration forum suggests someone there may also have taken action.

We need to find out what the status of the headstones is, and more about the whole site. I knew a little about the old pumping station, having an interest in the water supply, but not what has happened to the site since.

Whether it is to be seen as a Great War memorial,and whether we shall be able to persuade anyone to spend money on preserving it, isn't quite as clear-cut to me yet as it is to you, LF, since these appear to be reject headstones. It's certainly a very odd and interesting discovery, though,and one we shall pursue - thanks, Baz.

Liz

#11 manchester terrier

manchester terrier

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 396 posts

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:29 PM

Thanks for the praise Lancashire Fusilier, but all I've done is find a post on a forum.
The photos aren't mine, they were taken by the guy with the Flickr account.
All I've done is post them here and looked for info on the pumping station. I'm just interested to know why they ended up being used as building materials.

cheers
Baz

#12 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,680 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the praise Lancashire Fusilier, but all I've done is find a post on a forum.
The photos aren't mine, they were taken by the guy with the Flickr account.
All I've done is post them here and looked for info on the pumping station. I'm just interested to know why they ended up being used as building materials.

cheers
Baz


You still need to be thanked for bringing the matter up, and alerting everyone to the situation. It is obvious from the posts, that even people living in the town, were totally unaware of this critical situation.
LF

#13 manchester terrier

manchester terrier

    Major

  • Old Sweats
  • 396 posts

Posted 26 January 2012 - 10:49 PM

Just done a google of CWGC workshop eastbourne and one of results comes from the GWF.

The thread contains a post from Hooge who said

Posted 20 October 2004 - 09:44 PM

Hi All.I live in Eastbourne,east sussex and next to the railway station is a workshop my freind uses to service lawnmowers.What intrigued me is that quite a lot of the walls are built from CWGC headstones that are partially finished or complete.Any ideas?thanks.John


So now there are two buildings in Eastbourne with headstone walls.

cheers
Baz

#14 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,680 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 26 January 2012 - 11:04 PM

There must obviously be a connection between Eastbourne and the Stonemasons, and or the stone used for the headstones.
LF.

#15 Mikeo

Mikeo

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 18 posts

Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:24 AM

It's certainly an interesting discovery, but I don't believe this to be an example of desecration but of a local stonemason disposing of rejects. In 1914 (I don't have an immediate post WW1 directory), there were four monumental masons in Eastbourne, one of whom (C. Jones) was located at Cavendish Bridge Wharf, just a stone's throw from the pumping station. It was probably the case that the job of engraving headstones was contracted out to stonemasons all over the British Isles. Not sure whether anyone has checked to see whether graves bearing the same names exist in CWG cemeteries.
M

#16 Dragon

Dragon

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,600 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:The Vosges and Alsace in occupation and wartime:
    http://thebluelinefrontier.wordpress.com/
    ~~~
    http://mightygwyn.zenfolio.com

    To contact the Drill Halls Project, please use the email facility on the website.

Posted 27 January 2012 - 12:35 AM

I wasn't thinking of rejects. I was wondering about trainee / apprentice masons, perhaps people who were practising on larger pieces of stone before moving on to the carefully cut slabs. That's why I asked whether it was possible to discern the size of the blocks.

That, to me, goes some way possibly to explain why the names are facing outward on the wall. On a finally cut headstone representing a real individual, it would be simpler, and also more discreet, to turn the name away from view.

Gwyn

#17 Andrew Upton

Andrew Upton

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,323 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near Bristol
  • Interests:Collecting the uniforms, arms, accoutrements and medals primarily of the Commonwealth countries from WW1, as well as being a member of the Great War living history group The Vickers Machine Gunners Society 1914-45. Looking for anything militarily related to the names of COSST, DENSLEY, DUREPAIRE, SHOPLAND and UPTON.

Posted 27 January 2012 - 01:35 AM

Not sure whether anyone has checked to see whether graves bearing the same names exist in CWG cemeteries.



I wasn't thinking of rejects. I was wondering about trainee / apprentice masons, perhaps people who were practising on larger pieces of stone before moving on to the carefully cut slabs. That's why I asked whether it was possible to discern the size of the blocks.

That, to me, goes some way possibly to explain why the names are facing outward on the wall. On a finally cut headstone representing a real individual, it would be simpler, and also more discreet, to turn the name away from view.


CGM already identified Mallion, I appear to be the first to post the correct identity of Sutton (matching the soldiers number and other details), for completeness sake I have put them both below:

http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=558696

Name: MALLION
Initials: J S
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Bedfordshire Regiment
Unit Text: 1st Bn.
Age: 30
Date of Death: 21/08/1918
Service No: 41274
Additional information: Son of William and Hannah Mallion; husband of Rosa Mallion, of Fen Ditton, Cambridge. Born at Fen Ditton.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: IV. F. 16.
Cemetery: QUEENS CEMETERY, BUCQUOY


http://www.cwgc.org/...casualty=322141

Name: SUTTON
Initials: J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment/Service: King's Royal Rifle Corps
Unit Text: 11th Bn.
Date of Death: 08/08/1916
Service No: R/1656
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. B. 4.
Cemetery: HEBUTERNE COMMUNAL CEMETERY

Given these are both stones to real soldiers, I think this adds strength to the argument the stones incorporated in the wall were either rejects, duplicates, etc etc, at the point of (or nearby) manufacture, and use was simply made of them for another purpose. Rather like worn-out stones today being broken up and reused for hardstanding.

#18 CGM

CGM

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,934 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Essex

Posted 27 January 2012 - 06:28 AM

I agree - my feelings are that this is "waste not, want not" in action. Interesting because it has raised the question of where all the engraved stones were sourced.



#19 Dragon

Dragon

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,600 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:The Vosges and Alsace in occupation and wartime:
    http://thebluelinefrontier.wordpress.com/
    ~~~
    http://mightygwyn.zenfolio.com

    To contact the Drill Halls Project, please use the email facility on the website.

Posted 27 January 2012 - 08:32 AM

I didn't say they were all imaginary names. I was merely raising the possibillity that some might have been practice stones. And seeing as no-one yet knows the answer, I don't see why my offering should be dismissed.

There are at least two things which don't yet have answers. One is how far these are completed, because depending on the dimensions of the slab and the load it has to carry, completed headstones might not be sufficient to bear the weight of a wall (please note the conditionals 'depending on', 'might', etc, not absolutes). Secondly, why the names are facing outwards. It would have been a simple matter to turn them inwards or erase them. Given that names would have represented real, recently dead people to stonemasons even if they didn't know them personally, it would have been discreet to conceal the names.

#20 Liz in Eastbourne

Liz in Eastbourne

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,072 posts
  • Gender:Female

Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:06 AM

You still need to be thanked for bringing the matter up, and alerting everyone to the situation. It is obvious from the posts, that even people living in the town, were totally unaware of this critical situation.
LF


Agreed as to the thanks, but I can see nothing critical about the situation, on the evidence so far, and the fact that a few of us on the Forum know nothing about it doesn't mean that nobody else in the town does. It's quite a big town.

I'm trying to find out about the origin of the stones from local sources as I said yesterday, but shall be away for the w/e and I expect someone else will find out more before I do. I agree with the posts above: once Mallion had been identified as a soldier with a proper headstone elsewhere, the likelihood was that these were rejects or practice efforts from a stonemason's yard. Baz's second discovery from 2004 reinforces this idea. A very interesting but surely hardly a desperate matter for the GWF.

Mikeo has identified four stonemasons in 1914 and we can certainly check the ones immediately post-war, when anyone has time to go to the library and check the directories.



Liz

#21 Dragon

Dragon

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,600 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Interests:The Vosges and Alsace in occupation and wartime:
    http://thebluelinefrontier.wordpress.com/
    ~~~
    http://mightygwyn.zenfolio.com

    To contact the Drill Halls Project, please use the email facility on the website.

Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:44 AM

A very interesting but surely hardly a desperate matter for the GWF.


You clearly haven't caught on to the belief that the GWF is a Statutory Consultee on all things Great War. B)

#22 Tom Morgan

Tom Morgan

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 4,767 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 27 January 2012 - 09:59 AM

I have a little titbit of information which I hope will help the local sleuths.

In 1946, the CWGC had just about finished the dificult job of locating all the WW2 graves and cemeteries, and bringing them in under the Commission's care. The next job was the actual construction work with the biggest item being the 350,000 gravestones which would have to be produced. The CWGC was told that the production of the headstones might take 15 years, given post-war manpower shortages.

The old pantograph machines which had been used to rough-out designs and inscriptions had been sold many years before and searches began to try to find out what had happened to them. It was hoped that they could be further developed to a stage where they could produce the finished stones.

Philip Longworth, in The Unending Vigil (page 200) says that some of the machines were traced to a builder's yard in Eastbourne.

The book goes into no more detail than that, but I hope it helps.

Tom

#23 CGM

CGM

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,934 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Essex

Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:31 AM

Very interesting Tom.

Ref. investigating the importance of the site and bringing it to local attention, looking again at the thread with the photos it seems that a poster who had already visited the site has already "set the wheels in motion" (see #7).

#24 GJH

GJH

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 144 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France
  • Interests:1/4 Btn South Lancs Regiment, 2/4 Btn South Lancs Regiment,
    RFC, HMS Vengeance

Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:37 AM

It really is quite fascinating what turns up out of the blue, for the Eastbourne residents, do you know the whereabouts of the military evacuee hospital that was used for returning great war caualities ?



My Grandfather was apparantly sent there in 1917 for around five months, any information would be most appreciated.

Thanks
Graham

#25 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,496 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 27 January 2012 - 01:52 PM

There were a number of hospitals in and around Eastbourne. Few, if any physical traces remain other than the CWGC headstones in the local cemetery.

The biggest was probably Summerdown Camp, which was a convalescent hospital. A Google images search throws up a couple of contemporary postcards illustrating the scale of the site, the last huts were demolished, I believe in the sixties.

Ken

EDIT this one seems particularly poignant and no doubt representative of hundreds more
http://www.stamps-au...-for-sale-67268