The great age of memorial building was in the aftermath of the First World War. The Shaldon memorial clock tower, funded by public subscription, was erected in 1921 to commemorate the twenty-six local men who had lost their lives during the First World War. It is one of the forms of utilitarian monuments (like memorial village halls, and parks) sometimes chosen in preference to mute crosses.
It was to have originally been of marble with a luminous dial and illuminated finials but the design was modified, either due to insufficient funds or because a simpler style of memorial was a more popular choice. It is a square structure in a loose classical style and comprises a chamfered plinth of stone and brick and a tall two-stage tower of red brick with a moulded string course between the stages.
It was built by Albert Best of Teignmouth and must have been one of his last pieces of work since he died on Sept 9th 1920. The ‘turret’ clock, probably manufactured by Harold Mole also of Teignmouth, has two faces. It was mechanical and was originally wound by hand on a weekly basis until the 1970s when it was converted to electric. A wooden door in its south-west elevation gives access to the clock mechanism.
On the various sides of the memorial are stone tablets for both wars with surnames, initials and units. There are 26 names for the first world war and 9 names for the second plus two for the Malayan Emergency of 1949. The main (south-east) face of the tower bears an inscription noting the memorial’s erection and reads:
WAS ERECTED BY THE
INHABITANTS OF SHALDON
TO COMMEMORATE THE
OF THE GREAT WAR
1914 – 1919
AND IN THE GRATEFUL MEMORY
OF THE MEN OF SHALDON
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
FOR THEIR COUNTRY.
“DULCE ET DECORUM
EST PRO PATRIA
It is listed at Grade II because of:
- Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impacts of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the twentieth century;
- Architectural interest: in contrast to the more standard war memorial designs, it is a modest, yet elegant and utilitarian clock tower with well-executed detailing;
- Group value: it makes a positive and important contribution to the street scene and groups well with the neighbouring listed buildings.
The above information has been extracted from: