The first Remembrance Day in Blackpool took place on the fourth anniversary of Britain’s entry into the Great War. Armistice would soon be reached and Blackpool residents sought a location where they could honour their war dead. On the 4 August 1918 local people gathered in the Sunken Gardens by the Metropole Hotel around a temporary war shrine of two large wooden crosses. By 1919 Blackpool would have another temporary war shrine, but the local community continued to seek a war memorial that befitted those they sought to honour.
The design of Blackpool’s war memorial was selected by competition and the Sunken Gardens was chosen to be the official location of the 100ft obelisk. Construction lasted almost a year, with the inauguration event taking place on 10 November 1923. The Blackpool Gazette states that almost 30,000 people gathered around the Cenotaph on this day, one of the largest crowds Blackpool had seen at this time.
Our Cenotaph would be constructed from Cornish grey granite with large bronze relief panels. Figures of four servicemen stand on the east and west sides of the Cenotaph representing infantrymen, gunners, blue jackets and airmen. The south side of the Cenotaph shows Britannia holding a sword of honour and scales of justice - on one side of her a soldier, on the other munition workers. The north side shows a figure of peace amongst civilians, including women and children as well as soldiers - weary but filled with courage.
During the ceremony the words of General T.E. Topping were broadcast to the crowds via a loud speaker placed on the top of a nearby tram shelter. In silence the words resonated:
“Their names are engraven on stone, and even though, sadly, it is only in name, we have brought them home to their native town”.