Loughborough Carillon

There were many memorials created across the towns and villages of Charnwood, these included outdoor memorials as well as those in churches, places of work and schools. There was much discussion in Loughborough as in towns all over England, about suitable memorials. The War Memorial Committee asked for suggestions to be sent to them by the 2nd May 1919. Some of the Ideas discussed in Loughborough were for almshouses or for a sculpted town memorial such as the one in Quorn by Joseph Morcom who also designed the memorial in Loughborough Parish Church. Another popular idea was for a new hospital or health centre. Records show that In 1913 the hospital was in de cit by £572. During the 1914-1919 war period, some 1,585 soldiers passed through the hospital and put a considerable strain on its facilities. A room at the Baxter Gate church opposite was used as an overspill ward and Nanpantan Hall was also used for wounded soldiers. The last soldiers left in February 1919 and were transferred to Leicester. The demand became so great towards the end of the war that only urgent civilian cases were admired. Various fundraising events such as a concert in 1914 were held in the town to plug this gap but even so, by the end of the war extensive repairs and redecorations were needed and the medical needs of returning servicemen were a pressing concern. In a letter to ‘The Echo’ in March 1919 ‘one interested’ said he was unable to a end the War Memorial meeting but would like to suggest a hall suitably fitted for the use of the young people of the town where they could find recreation on during the evenings, and for a sum to be set aside for entertainments and lectures. He thought this would meet an urgent need. Another writer to the paper urged the committee to go for something beautiful saying that ‘Loughborough seems to go for utility…but in erecting the memorial, let us drift for once on the side of beauty and place something in the town to give it a more classic appearance.’ He then went on to suggest that the Fearon Fountain should be removed from the market place, renovated and then relocated in either Bedford or Ashby Square and a beautiful monument or group of statuary be erected in its place. The proposal for the Carillon was made by Wilfrid Moss who had lost his son Harold. He had been inspired by a visit to Belgium and seen a Carillon there and thought it would be fitting to construct something similar in Loughborough. Other ideas were also put forward and these were ultimately submitted to a poll. The result of the poll showed that the Carillon idea was backed by the majority gaining 287 votes, closely followed by a monument with 265. Significantly, £1,348 and eight shillings had been pledged to support this idea and much less for the monument and Health Centre. The commission for the bells for the Carillon went to Taylor’s whose own family losses were so great in the war – the picture above shows the bells mounted in the foundry illustrated below by Paul Gent.

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