These two fine bonze memorials were retrieved from the cellar of what is now St Martin’s House in Peacock Lane, which had for many years been the home of Alderman Newton’s Grammar School but which was latterly used by the newly formed Leicester Grammar School before it moved to Great Glen in 2008.
They were left there when in 1979 Alderman Newton’s Greencoat School moved to New Parks and was subsumed into New College Leicester in the appropriately named Greencoat Road.
At Risk War Memorials Project took them into care in what is an exceedingly appropriate location – All Saints, Highcross Street where Alderman Newton is buried and also has a fine memorial window.
Gabriel Newton was born 1683 in relatively humble circumstances but was thrice married and on each occasion to a lady with means and soon accumulated significant wealth in land and money. Devoting himself to the affairs of the city, he was elected Alderman in 1726 and Mayor of Leicester in 1732.
Having no surviving heir, he left the considerable sum of £3,250 to the Corporation of Leicester for the founding of a school for boys which opened in 1784 with 35 boys.
His statue today adorns the Clock Tower at the heart of the City.
The first one lists those men killed in World War I and the second lists those lost in WWII.
It will be noticed that unlike most war memorials which have a ration of about 10:1 of deaths in the two wars, in this instance the numbers are 98 and 78 respectively. This is partly due to the relative size of the school in each period and also probably the large number of men who served in the RAF in the Second World War.
Old Newtonians can be greatly proud of their school, its achievements and sacrifices.
Our friend Pamela Blythe has put together a document on the 1914-18 panel which links to the excellent research undertaken by Peter and Michael Doyle on the Leicestershire War Memorials website. See link below.
For detailed information on the 1939-45 panel and the men listed on them, click on the other button below (research kindly undertaken by Pamela Blythe).
There was also a piece written about Bert Preston, who is listed on the WWII panel, in our ‘Last Post’ newsletter which you can read here
All Saints Church, Highcross St, Leicester LE1 4PH