Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Trees Planted Round Western Road Council School Sheffield April 1919

The following is from the Sheffield Independent dated 5th April 1919 and refers to the planting of trees on Western Road/Gilott Street. They were to serve as a memorial for the former pupils of Western Road Council School who served their country in the Great War. 64 of those former pupils never returned


The teachers and scholars of Western Road Council School have adopted an excellent method of perpetuating the memory of former pupils who have served in the war.  Around the school in Western Road and Gillott Street 97 trees are being planted, sycamore and plane trees alternately in the former road and various trees in the latter.
A tablet will be placed outside on the school wall bearing the inscription:  “The trees in Western Road and Gillott Street were planted in grateful appreciation of the part taken by former pupils of this school in the great war 1914-1919.”  Later a carved oak tablet bearing the names of those pupils who fell in the war will be placed in the central hall of the school.  Altogether 401 boys from the school served in the war, 64 were killed, and 12 gained distinctions.
The first ceremony, the tree planting, took place yesterday afternoon preceded by a gathering in the school over which Councillor J. Kaye presided.  He said he considered it a magnificent scheme and impressed the boys with the necessity of seeing that the trees were kept free from damage.
Rev. V. W. Pearson delivered an address in the course of which he told the boys and girls that one of the things they could do for the service done for them by those whose memories they commemorated was to try to make England a place better worth living in.
Patriotic songs were well sung by the scholars, conducted by Mr. W. H. Cotton, head-master. And afterwards the scholars, with flags flying marched into the road where the trees were planted by Miss M. Maxfield, Rev. V. W. Pearson, Councillor J. Kaye, Messrs T. W. Quine, I. H. Morris, W. H. Cotton, Miss Hassall and Miss Corner, and the top boy or girl of each class.  The singing of more patriotic songs brought the ceremony to a close.

Nearly one hundred years later, this war memorial is to be decimated by the agents of Sheffield City Council. Whilst I admit the issue is a complex one, it should never be forgotten what these trees represent. All those concerned in the proposed destruction of this memorial should take this on-board but I feel somehow they won't

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