War Memorial Gardens, Holytown 8304

Motherwell, Scotland

Brief Description

The Memorial Gardens in Holytown, North Lanarkshire include a War Memorial to commemorate the men of Holytown district who fell in the Great War 1914-18. The memorial consists of a kilted soldier on a tapering plinth and stepped base, constructed in Killembreck granite by Glasgow firm Messer Scott & Rae sculptures and built by local building firm James Patterson and Son. The memorial has recently been restored. The planting beds were replanted with shrub species selected for year round interest and ease of maintenance.

History

The gardens were opened at a ceremony which took place on Sunday 9th April 1933. The War Memorial and gardens were unveiled by Alexander Whitelaw Esq. from nearby Woodhall Estate. As was the case with many War Memorials at this time, the memorial was paid for by funds raised by public subscription, and the grounds on which the gardens laid out, were gifted by a local benefactor.

Detailed Description

The Woodhall House is long gone. The estate drive which once linked the Woodhall House with Holytown church was first dissected by the M8 Motorway, and subsequently erased by Eurocentral business park. Recently the last remaining trees were removed to make way for a housing development.

The War Memorial has always occupied a raised corner of the Memorial Gardens, somewhat separate from the gardens themselves. The soldier faces away from the gardens, towards the village. Rather than occupying a site within the gardens, the memorial has a prominent location next to the old Glasgow to Edinburgh road for all to see.

In 2009 TGP Landscape Architects oversaw the relocation of the memorial on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council.

The project involved improving the setting to the War Memorial which had been compromised by the continuous raising of the adjacent road. This meant that the sunken area surrounding the memorial was prone to waterlogging and had become compromised by a patchwork of surfaces.

The memorial was rebuilt in a raised area of imported granite paving. The curved retaining wall between the memorial and the memorial gardens was rebuilt with Locharbriggs red sandstone from Dumfries and new railings installed by a local metalworker. The original railings included a heart shaped detail which was replicated in the replacement railings.

The restoration works undertaken to the memorial included pining together the soldier's gun which was in six separate pieces, together with reinstating and painting the pin letters commemorating the names of the fallen.

Local pupils from Christ the King primary school contributed to a time capsule which was placed inside the plinth during the rebuilding of the memorial and also attended the opening of the refurbished memorial.

Planting proposals within the gardens included planting beech trees between the existing mature trees along the boundary to ensure succession.

The planting beds were replanted with shrub species selected for year round interest and ease of maintenance.

Features
  • War Memorial
  • Description: The memorial consists of a kilted soldier on a tapering plinth and stepped base, constructed in Killembreck granite by Glasgow firm Messer Scott & Rae sculptures and built by local building firm James Patterson and Son.
History

Detailed History

The Memorial Gardens in Holytown, North Lanarkshire which include a War Memorial to commemorate the men of Holytown district who fell in the Great War 1914-18 were opened at a ceremony which took place on Sunday 9th April 1933. The War Memorial and gardens were unveiled by Alexander Whitelaw Esq. from nearby Woodhall Estate. As was the case with many War Memorials at this time, the memorial was paid for by funds raised by public subscription, and the grounds on which the gardens laid out, were gifted by a local benefactor.

The memorial consists of a kilted soldier on a tapering plinth and stepped base, constructed in Killembreck granite by Glasgow firm Messer Scott & Rae sculptures and built by local building firm James Patterson and Son.

Established in 1881 by George Scott (1845-1903) and Robert Rae (1845-1910) the firm Scott and Rae produced a huge number of monuments for sites throughout Scotland and the UK. The monuments' were often carved in grey granite from the firms Killemabreck quarry in Aberdeenshire.

Scott and Rae supplied the Killemabreck granite used to build the cenotaph in Glasgow's George Square.

The historic photograph reveals a pristine gardens, with neatly edged planting beds, and gravel surfaced paths set slightly below the grass verges. When first laid out visitors to the gardens could look beyond the burn to the Holytown church elevated on the adjacent ridgeline. The church's graveyard included the Whitelaw family mausoleum, and was linked to Woodhall Estate by a drive lined with beech trees.

Period

  • Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
References

Contributors

  • Matthew Benians