Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
Photo: Tony Harding


St. George and Dragon 1914-18 1939-45 Eldon Square





Map ref

NZ 247644

Original Location

(Old) Eldon Square, Blackett Street

Which war

a. 1914-18
b. 1939-45

Dedication, Creation or Publication date

a. Unveiled 26th September 1923 by Field Marshall, The Rt. Hon. The Earl Haig of Bemersyde, K.T., G. C.B., O.M., G.C.V.O., K.C.I.E.

Memorial Description

Statue, 11 feet 6 inches high (3.36m) weighing nearly 4 tons, of St. George on rearing horse, his arms raised to plunge his lance into the dragon. The statue rests on a stone pedestal, total height 32 feet (9.75m) on the front of which is carved a lion in half relief. Above the lion are the dates "1914-1918" carved in Roman lettering. On each side of the pedestal is a bronze plaque, one representing Peace and the other Justice.

Materials used

Bronze on white stone pedestal


A tribute of affection
to the men of
Newcastle and District
who gave their lives
in the cause of freedom
Their name liveth for evermore.

Memory lingers here




a. The total amount raised was £16,374/4s/3d, but the memorial cost £12,909/18s/3d. £300 went to alterations to the street paving etc. The balance of £3,164/5s/5d was given to the Governors of the R.V.I. for the provision of extra beds

How money was raised

Public subscription. A Shilling fund was started.

Present condition

Very good. Restored in 1991, following vandalism in 1990. Underwent major restoration in 2007, and is now part of the Newcastle City Council's rolling programme of maintenance.

Sculptor, Artist or Designer

Charles Leonard Hartwell, R.A. 1873-1951

Ownership and maintenance

Newcastle City Council.


1. "The Newcastle War Memorial Committee yesterday unanimously decided, on hearing the report of the deputation which had been to London, to commission Mr. Alfred Drury, R.A., A.R.C.A., to design the memorial. Mr. Drury will visit the site at an early date and later submit his design for the approval of the Committee. Every effort is to be made to complete the memorial by Armistice Day 1922, but it is expected to have to stone work ready for this year's anniversary". Shields Daily News Saturday 8/1/1921.

2. Mr. Drury’s design “will consist of a stone platform, with steps leading up to it, giving ample room for ceremonial functions, such as the laying on of wreaths on anniversary days. On the platform will stand a handsome pedestal, 14 feet 6 inches in height, and carried out in Portland stone. On the one side of the pedestal will be a figure of ‘The Future’ represented by a mother and child, for whom the gallant dead made the supreme sacrifice. A figure of ‘Immortality’ will adorn the opposite side of the pedestal. Standing on the pedestal will be a bronze equestrian figure of St.George, ten feet in height, represented in the act of slaying the dragon”. Northern Echo 3/3/1921

3. Mr. Drury withdrew his acceptance of the Commission. An attempt by the Laing Art Gallery to incorporate two bronze allegorical figures designed by Mr. Drury into the memorial designed by Mr. Hartwell were rejected.

4. Stephen H. Aitchison of Lemmington Hall, Alnwick gave 1,000 shillings (£50).

5. The cost of the Monument was defrayed out of a Shilling Fund instituted in December 1920. The unexampled success and popularity of this fund was soon evident for about the middle of January 1921, the whole of the money had been subscribed.

6. Among proposals at the unveiling was to be a request for residents surrounding the square to allow elderly and disabled to watch from their windows.

7. It was proposed that surplus funds (£3,164/5s/5d) should be handed over to the Royal Infirmary. A suggestion that they be used for needs of ex-servicemen from the Northumberland Fusiliers was rejected since discrimination could not take place. Endowments for beds at the RVI was proposed. See NUT225

8. The memorial is the second cast of a sculpture designed and executed by the artist to commemorate the men of Marylebone in London killed in the Great War and situated close to Lord’s Cricket ground.

9. St. George also features on the badge of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

10. One of the original designs was for a catafalque on top of a tall plinth.

11. The Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Mr A Munro Sutherland “suggested the building of a City Hall as a memorial to the noble citizens who had laid down their lives”. He estimated the probable cost at £500,000 and indicted that if someone would donate £100,000 the scheme could begin and that he would donate £10,000 towards the second £100,000. Illustrated Chronicle January 11, 1919, page 3

12. Dr Fortune, a candidate for Benwell Ward on Newcastle City Council suggested “that Newcastle should commemorate the great peace victory by holding an international exhibition each year, the Corporation to become the chief guarantors.” Illustrated Chronicle January 20, 1919, page 7

13. Philip Thirkell wrote in 1990 to Newcastle City Council to say that inscription was worn and illegible. It was attended to.

14. Future development of the square c1990 had included the removal of the statue to another situation. Public outcry forced the idea to be abandoned.

15. A tree was planted in 2002. As part of the restoration, a plaque on a raked pedestal was placed beside it, which states:
Newcastle City Council
Challenging racism and intolerance
through the lessons of the past.
This tree was planted on
24 January 2002
Chaim Nagelsztajn
A survivor of the Holocaust

16. As part of the 2007 restoration, a square pedestal surmounted by a lamp was placed in the square. On the pedestal is a bronze plaque bearing a picture of St. George slaying the dragon, and the words:
War & Peace
A monument for the centre of Eldon Square had been proposed at the time the square was planned. A statue of Lord Eldon was considered but nothing was ever erected. Photographs of the square at the turn of the century show a central stone pedestal topped with an ornate lamp.
At the end of the First World War a number of ideas for a
war memorial were considered before Chancellor Sir Arthur
Sutherland started the ‘Shilling Fund’ with a donation of 20,000 shillings. This public subscription eventually raised over 300,000 shillings (£15k) and funded the erection of the war memorial that now proudly stands in the centre of the square.
Designed by Charles Hartwell the memorial, which depicts
St. George slaying a dragon, was unveiled by Field Marshall
Earl Haig on 26th September 1923 in front of over one thousand people who had taken part of the official ‘pilgrimage of homage’.

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Tony Harding; Old postcards: F. Fletcher; Tony Harding; John S. Perry

Alnwick & County Gazette 11/12/1920 reports donation to shilling fund by Aitchison of Lemmington Hall

Alnwick & County Gazette & Guardian 28/07/1923 reports proposal in Note (6) above.

Daily Journal 08/12/1920 has a drawing of the architect’s suggestion for the design showing a catafalque.

Illustrated Chronicle 08/12/1920 shows proposed designs; 03/03/1921 shows proposals; 19/12/1921 shows model on which memorial is based

Northern Echo 03/03/1921 reports Mr. Drury’s original design; 30/06/1923 reports agreement by Earl Haig to do the unveiling; 18/07/1923 reports over subscription and the proposal to give the surplus funds to the RVI; 26/09/1923 reports proposed unveiling arrangement; 27/09/1923 reports unveiling

Newcastle Weekly Journal 11/12/1920 shows proposals; 13/08/1921 reports Mr. Drury’s request for delay or to withdraw; 06/05/1922 carries photo of design; 05/03/1921 shows proposed design: 18/08/1923 reports proposed unveiling; 29/09/1923 reports unveiling

St.George’s Gazette Vol. XLI (1923) carries description (from The Times 28th September) of the unveiling; Vol.XLII (1924) 31st May, page 89 carries 3 photographs taken on St.George’s Day, 1924; Vol.XLIV (1926) 31st July page 123 reports laying of wreaths by visiting French Army officers; Vol. XLVI (1928) 31st May, page 99 carries photo of wreath laying on St.George’s Day;

South Shields Gazette 27/09/1923 reports unveiling.

Newcastle Daily Chronicle 30/09/1920 reports various proposals; 08/12/1920 reports proposals and the reasoning; 10/12/1920 reports approval of plans; 11/12/1920 reports raising of 86,678 shillings in the shilling fund; 12/08/1921 reports that Mr. Drury would not be making the memorial and the acceptance of C.L. Hartwell in his place; 19/12/1921 carries photo of maquette

Shields Daily News 08/01/1921; 18/07/1923 report of the meeting at which the request by the Laing Art Gallery took place; 26/09/1923 reports the unveiling ceremony; also editorial

Evening Chronicle 26/07/1990 reports vandalism.

Journal 28/01/2008 reports that skateboarders will be deterred from using the paving around the memorial by the insertion of small metal stoppers; 11/11/2011 carries letter of appreciation of improvements.

Tyne-Wear Archives Dept Ref: 132/52, 53 comprises 2 books of newspaper cuttings; 604/814-5 has cuttings, plans, costs and description of Service.

Newcastle Central Library assorted photographs various dates; news cutting of unveiling by Earl Haig; Garden of Remembrance design description 1954; shilling fund set up to raise funds.

At the Going Down of the Sun Derek Boorman.

Catalogue of Sculpture, Monuments and memorials in Public Places in Newcastle Newcastle City Council 1985.

Tyne & Wear Archives Specialist Conservation Team report 2007-8

Newcastle Battalion of World War One: 16th (Service) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers; Ian Johnson, 2014; Published by the author

Source of quotation :
“Memory lingers here” : On a tombstone of 1873 for a Baptist Elder in Petersburg, Vancouver.

External web link

Links to Source Material :

Additional Research documents (click to download)

Research acknowledgements

J. Munro (Newcastle City Council, 1985); the late R.W. Gould; P. Thirkell; J. Brown; Tony Harding; John S. Perry; James Pasby; Dorothy Hall; Patrick Easen; Michael Mulhern

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St. George and Dragon 1914-18 1939-45 Eldon Square (NUT019)

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