Friday, 28 November 2014

Earl's House Industrial School War Memorial

Virtually every town, city and village in the land has at least one memorial commemorating the First World War.  Many places have their own local cenotaph; a pillar or other structure, often in a park or the village square, which lists those who died fighting “The Great War”.  Lots of churches and chapels contain plaques of names but there are also other sites such as railway stations, post offices and even golf clubs where employees or members are commemorated.  

But what happens when a building with such a plaque is pulled down or renovated?  Scrolling through the North East War Memorials Project’s indexes shows a number of entries for memorials which are highlighted in green with the words “Missing” or “Destroyed” next to them.  Thanks to a lucky coincidence there is now one fewer of these missing memorials.

Earl's House Industrial School war memorial plaque
Earl's House Industrial School war memorial plaque
While at a local history event, a member of the Friends of Durham County Record Office (FODCRO) happened to meet David Hillerby.  Thanks to Mr Hillerby two memorial plaques from County Durham had been saved from a skip.  While it was easy to identify one of the plaques as having come from Winterton Hospital, it took the combined resources of FODCRO and the Record Office to find the source of the other.  Finally, it was pinpointed as having come from Earl’s House Industrial School, near Witton Gilbert.  The site is currently being redeveloped as the Lanchester Road Hospital and so an opportunity arose to rehouse the plaque close to its original location.

On 7th November 2014 the restored plaque was unveiled for a second time.  Representatives from FODCRO, Durham County Record Office, The DLI Association, The Royal British Legion and the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust watched as the “lost” plaque was officially received into its new position along with two interpretive panels created by the Record Office for the NHS trust.   A copy of the panels can be found on the Durham at War website. Photographs of the unveiling can be seen on the Northern Echo's website here.

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