"The Buxton Advertiser" of the 20th June 1924 reported that on the previous Sunday, the 14th June, at the Whitsuntide Church Service, St James, Harpur Hill, a 'War Memorial Tablet Flower Stand' was dedicated. It had kindly been donated by Mr Laurence Wardle. So that the family and friends of the dead could lay flowers and wreaths and the wind would not blow them away. This was before the main war memorial was built. It is not clear what, if any, relative Laurence was to Robert Wardle's family. In 1924 he was aged 63 and a "Stone Mason".
About the same time Buxton Lime Firm Co Ltd gave land to the village for the erection of a War Memorial and allowed their workmen, many of whom were former workmates of the dead soldiers, to transport the stone and build the surrounding walls and pillars.
As the picture on the right - taken from an ICI Magazine from 1928 [Buxton Library] - shows, the Harpur Hill Memorial, on Burlow Road, is of a unique design, chosen because of the link between both the area and the men to the quarry industry. It takes the form of a rough-hewn limestone boulder on a pedestal of random limestone blocks, and weighs about 9 tons [about 8165 kgs.]. The Harpur Hill Memorial was dedicated in the same year - 1928.
The stone for this work came from the local Hoffman Quarry and was dragged on a bogie, via the old road at the back of Burlow Cottages. The original Memorial was located in an area enclosed by walls and posts made from the same limestone. Ornamental chains linked corners of the posts. A bronze plaque designed by L F Roslyn, R.B.S., London, on the front face of the Memorial lists the names of the brave local Quarrymen who died in the Great War. [Roslyn also designed The Slopes Memorial.]
HARPUR HILL, BUXTON:
Around the time when most of the Great War soldiers were born, c. 1890, Harpur Hill was a small village of less than 100 houses, mainly for quarry workers in the limestone industry.
Kelly's Directory of 1895, refers to a "Mission Church and School erected at Harpur Hill in this parish by the Buxton Lime Company - who also pay an annual stipend to the curate, and have further established a reading and news room; the Rev. Henry Clark May, L.Th. of Durham University has been curate in charge since 1894".
The St James's Parish Register entries do not begin until 1891. However, it seems that the Reverend May was not its first curate, as Kelly's Directory of 1891 refers to the Reverend John Hilton Ireland, M.A. of St. John's College, Cambridge, as being curate in charge since 1887.
ST JAMES CHURCH, HARPUR HILL:
The clock over the main door of St James' Church was dedicated to the memory of the 13 men of the Parish, all of them workers in the limestone quarrying industry, who gave their lives in the Great War.
On the left side of the door to the church is an engraved bronze plaque bearing the names of the men. These names coincide with the names on the village stone memorial, just around the corner on Burlow Road [see below], and all of the men are also named on the Town Memorial on The Slopes, Buxton.
War Memorials in Harpur Hill are found at two sites:
In addition Harpur Hill Methodist Church (opened in 1889) stands in the middle of the village and is unusual in that it has a burial ground. Pt. 42979 Thomas Henry TIDESWELL is commemorated on his parents' grave in the Churchyard.
'The Buxton Advertiser' - 20 June 1924 and 2 December 1998
As early as 1981, however, the site of the Memorial came under pressure from conflicting demands. When the Memorial was first built it occupied a position in the open centre of the village next to a bowling green and club house built for the quarry workers.
Had it not been for the work of Carol Gilman and her mother Betty
Lindsay things might well have been worse. They lobbied the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport and enlisted the help of
Friends of the War Memorials, the Local Council and the Women's
Institute. Eventually the Memorial was restored and is now a Grade
2 listed building.
'The Buxton Advertiser' of the 2nd December 1998 carried a photo
of the restoration work in progress and mentioned the contribution
of the local Women's Institute and the High Peak Community Service
As the photo of the Memorial today , above, shows, things have
changed a lot not only from its original setting but even from 16 years
ago. The bowling green is now covered in housing and much of the
surroundings is a car park.
about the restoration work
Harpur Hill Memorial - 2014
Restoring Harpur Hill Memorial - 1998
[CLICK on image to read Buxton Advertiser article]
Inside the Church in a small side chapel is an embossed parchment, framed in wood, entitled 'ROLL OF HONOUR', below an image of St George, and bearing the same 13 names as the other Memorials:
The Service details for these men can be accessed using the alphabetical names index at the top of the page.