Some war memorials may be protected because they form part of the fabric of a Listed Building.
Free standing war memorials may be eligible for listing in their own right. Listing marks and celebrates a memorial’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations.
Listing a war memorial
The rules for Listing vary by country, but in general any freestanding structure that complies with the statutory test that it is of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ can be listed. However, memorials fixed to a building, such as plaques or rolls of honour, would not be listed individually, but may be included if the whole building was listed. Structures such as hospitals or church halls that have been dedicated as war memorials are more likely to be judged on their special architectural interest, rather than on their status as war memorials.
Why List a war memorial?
Listing does two things: first, it recognises the national significance of a structure; secondly, it provides some protection for that significance, through the planning process. Whilst we know that the majority of war memorials are cared for locally, sometimes they are at risk. Whilst risks could be detrimental changes to a memorial itself, it is more common that listing prevents unfavourable changes around a memorial. For example, a planning application to erect advertising boards around the memorial.
Listing is intended as a way to mark the historic importance of war memorials, and to commemorate their role at the centre of the nation’s remembrance, particularly in this centenary period, but is not intended to place additional burdens on those responsible for their maintenance.
Listing in England
If your war memorial is already listed, it will appear on the National Heritage List for England. If it isn’t, and you think it should be protected by listing, you can apply to list your war memorial.