This site celebrates the life and work of sculptor John
Cassidy (1860 - 1939).
St Paul's Church, adjacent to the memorial, is a late Victorian 'Low
Anglican' edifice, designed by the firm of Bird and Whittenbury,
built in 1876, and extended in 1896. The octagonal tower, designed by
E.P. Oakley was added in 1900.
The view along Heaton Moor Road from the memorial.
Our knowledge of
Stockport's part in World War I is greatly enhanced by a 'virtual memorial' website
called 'More than a Name', the
product of a vast amount of research by John Hartley, which aims
to uncover the life story and war record
of everyone whose name appears on an official memorial in the
Borough of Stockport.
Thanks to this marvellous site, we can bring you not just a list of the
names on the Heaton Moor memorial, but in the case of the 1914-19
names, links to the stories of the people commemorated.
Many of these are quite fascinating: the first named, Gerald Adam, for
example, died in action in the north of Russia in August 1919, well
after the official end of the War. Two of the dead were natives of
Germany, who had volunteered for the British Army in 1914. Germans
formed a significant minority in the
Manchester area at the time.
In other cases, it has become clear that the name on the memorial is
mis-spelled, and there are several names on the memorial
about whom Mr Hartley's extensive research has failed to find any
information at all. This appears to be a common problem for War
Many, but not all, of the names also appear on Stockport's main
memorial in the War Memorial Art Gallery, and some also have a third
mention on a memorial elsewhere in Stockport.
Follow the links below to the stories on the 'More than a Name' site.
Names on the Memorial
OS Grid reference:
Links and acknowledgments:
Cam: War Memorial, Heaton Chapel and Heaton Moor
Public Sculpture of Greater
Manchester, by Terry Wyke. Page
UK National Inventory of War
On The Moor: history of Heaton Moor
Heaton Moor War Memorial, Stockport
Heaton Moor is a residential suburb, developed in what was once
open country - a 'moor' in this area refers to land exploited for peat
extraction - following the opening of a station at nearby Heaton
Chapel by the Manchester and Birmingham Railway in 1852. It is
distinguished by many large houses and public buildings from the
Victorian period, although today many of them have been subdivided into
flats, as the wealthier members of society now generally prefer more
rural surroundings. Being on the north side of the river Mersey, it was
in the county of Lancashire until it was absorbed into the County
Borough of Stockport just before World War I, placing it in
Cheshire. From 1974 it has been part of the Borough of Stockport
in Greater Manchester.
Following the carnage of World War I, it was proposed to
those serviceman from both Heaton
Moor and Heaton Chapel killed in the First World War. After some
discussion, in the local press and elsewhere, on whether to erect
a statue or provide a more
in the form of a gymnasium, a public meeting decided in favour of the
John Cassidy, whose studio was just a few miles away, was
approached for a
design and proposed a bronze memorial of a soldier and an angel on a
stone pedestal, at an estimated cost was £1,800 - £2,000,
and agreed not to use the same model for any other memorial within
a thirty-mile radius. The original proposal of a soldier and an angel,
theme of several Cassidy memorials, notably that at Clayton-le-Moors,
was not finally realised at Heaton Moor (perhaps due to financial
considerations) and the final work features the soldier alone on a
Portland stone pedestal. In this writer's opinion, a more effective and
The sepia view above, from an old postcard, shows the memorial in its
original form, sometime before World War II, before the front of the
plinth was altered to include names from World War II and, much
later, the spaces each side were filled with Stockport council's
standardised black and cast iron flower-boxes.
In fact Cassidy did use a very similar design at Colwyn
Bay in Wales, safely outside the 30-mile limit.
The memorial in 2008. The wall was repaired in 2000 after being struck
by a road vehicle.
The site chosen for the memorial was on Heaton
Moor Road, the main road through the settlement, in front of St Paul's
church, on land obtained from the
church. Stone seating was planned for the space behind the memorial but
this never appeared, apparently due to lack of money. Manchester
Henry Sellars (who also worked with Cassidy on the Skipton memorial) was responsible for the
semi-circular ashlar wall. The completed memorial was unveiled on 30
January 1921 in a ceremony attended by Charles Royle, Mayor of
Stockport. Cassidy was congratulated for producing a statue which
'suggested great ideals: it suggested something of the infinite; it
suggested heroic endurance and sustained fortitude and triumph in the
face of overwhelming odds.'
Two views of Cassidy's soldier.
Portrait of weariness.
The faces of the plinth carry lists of the people of Heaton Chapel and
Heaton Moor who died for their country in the two World Wars. The first
of the two World War I plaques has been lost, stolen, or otherwise,
removed, and replaced with a replica in rather modern style. 'D.
Furguson' is obviously a mis-spelling of the usual name 'Ferguson' as
can be seen from its position in the alphabetical order. Whether this
error existed in the original we cannot say.
The second half of the list is Cassidy's original: two of the fixing
pins of this one are missing. Like Cassidy's other monuments in this
style, a relief scene is included, this one giving a graphic
illustration of trench warfare. The lost plaque would have had a
different, but related, scene.
A closer view of the relief.
An additional plaque on the back of the plinth, in the same style as
the replacement one, carries
seven additional names from World War I, including a nurse, Gertrude
Powicke, the only woman on any war memorial in Stockport. We presume
these names were the result of additional research.
The 1939-45 plaque on the front of the memorial is rather awkwardly
shaped. Unusually, the number of casualties listed is of the same order
as on the World War I list. Normally, one find far fewer World War II
names on such a memorial. If you know the reason for the large number,
please let us know.
Shops in Heaton Moor Road: The 'Kro'
restored a baker's shop to its original Victorian style as
a café and bar.
Written by Charlie
Hulme, December 2008.