Cheltenham's war memorial

World War 1 war memorial in light stone

The town's main memorial is located outside the Municipal Offices on the Promenade, with the Long Gardens on either side. There are other memorials across the borough within the parish council wards and in churches.

Conservation of the Cheltenham war memorial

The Grade II listed Cheltenham war memorial is owned and maintained by Cheltenham Borough Council.

The approach to its repairs and maintenance is guided by Historic England, in particular the publication ‘The Conservation, Repair and Management of War Memorials’.

The guidance document advises that: "A balance has to be struck between accepting the inevitable effects of the passage of time and maintaining a dignified and cared-for appearance. In general, a temptation to restore a memorial to a pristine condition should also be avoided, as the methods needed to achieve it are likely to be damaging."

The condition of the war memorial is regularly monitored by the council and repairs and maintenance works are specified accordingly.

Recently this has included:

  • In 2022, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation conducted pinning repairs to the stonework where cracking was present. The war memorial was repointed throughout with lime mortar. Repair work was carried out to a damaged urn, where new stone was carved to match the urn and was reinstated to the stone pier below.
  • In June 2023, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation carried out specialist stone cleaning, using Thermatech, to the entirety of the war memorial, including obelisk, steps, balustrade and slabs.
  • In August 2023, Sally Strachey Historic Conservation carried out essential repairs to secure two coping stones to the balustrade.
  • In November 2023, Cliveden Conservation conducted specialist cleaning to five brass plaques. Note that two further brass plaques were unable to be cleaned as they had been somewhat overcleaned in the past by others, leaving unfortunate scratch marks to the surface.

We will continue our considered approach to conservation works of the war memorial, avoiding over cleaning (this can happen if cleaned too frequently), aiming for a cared-for appearance.

Photo gallery

Take a look at our Cheltenham war memorial photo gallery to see before and after images of conservation works.

Restoration of the war memorial for the centenary of the First World War

To commemorate the centenary of the First World War, the war memorial underwent several stages of restoration.

Phase One, July-September 2014

  • New drainage system installed under the memorial
  • Repaving in York Stone
  • Installation of LED uplights
  • Cleaning of obelisk and balustrades
  • Emergency repairs to balustrades

Phase Two, completed in 2018

  • Restoration and replacements of black lanterns
  • Repairs to the balustrades
  • Re-engraving of all of the names on the memorial

Victoria Cross plaques

As part of a commemorative project run by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Cheltenham received three plaques which were installed at the war memorial to commemorate three local recipients of the Victoria Cross: Captain Anketell Moutray Read, Captain Arthur Forbes Kilby (both to be unveiled around 25 September 2015) and Lt Colonel Richard Annesley West (around 2 September 2018).