The memorial in Royton Park that commemorates the local men who died in both world wars has 467 names on it. To many the war dead, if they are thought of at all, are something of an abstract concept. Apart from their names, looking at the memorial tells you nothing of those 467. Who were they? How and when did they die? They deserve to be remembered, to be known. As do all those who fell beside them. If this website goes even a short way to achieving that then it will have served its purpose.
It is dedicated not only to the 467 but to all those they left behind, to the many hundreds more who returned to Royton maimed for life or racked with illness and also those deeply affected mentally by the things they had seen.
This website is very much a work in progress, indeed there will never be a point when it can be considered finished. If you have any information that you would like to share about any of these men then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or https://www.facebook.com/#!/royton.memorial or https://twitter.com/Royton_Memorial
When Britain went to war in 1914 the population of Royton was 17000. The town's losses were perhaps a little above the national average but not remarkably so. After the war a local councillor, Norris Bradbury, gifted Tandle Hill - a 110 acre stretch of woodland and grassland to the north of the town to the people of Royton as a thank offering for peace.
Atop of the park's eponymous Tandle Hill (688 feet above sea level) the town erected it's war memorial which can be seen for many miles around. It is an obelisk made from Portland stone which bore plaques listing the names of the fallen along with a bronze sculpture of Victory on it's base. The memorial (often referred to locally as 'the monument') was unveiled on October 22nd 1921. Outrageously the plaques and the sculpture of Victory were stolen, presumably to be melted down, in 1969. To prevent this happening again the replacement plaques were installed at St.Paul's church in the centre of Royton. In 2003 a new memorial was unveiled in Royton Park (with no plaques to steal!) with the names engraved into it.
The memorial at Tandle Hill nowadays
The original Royton War Memorial
Royton circa 1905
Commemorative stone in Tandle Hill Park
For those of you from further afield perhaps a little introduction to the town is in order. Royton is a small town in south east Lancashire and lies between Oldham and Rochdale, all three being part of the Greater Manchester conurbation.
Royton has always been in the orbit of Oldham, it's larger neighbour to the south, but proudly retained it's independence up until 1974 when it was consumed by the new Oldham Metropolitan Borough.
Royton's population began to grow with the start of the industrial revolution - the workers coming to the town being employed first in both the Coal and Cotton industries but as time went on it was King Cotton that was the town's raison d'être. Eventually there were around 40 cotton mills in the town, some of them amongst the largest in the country. In the region of 80% of Royton's working population worked in these mills up until the 1950's. The industry sharply declined from that point onwards, it had been perhaps since the 1920's, and by the 1980's only four mills were still in production, the last cotton spun in the town was in 1998. The large majority of the men on the Royton memorial worked in the mills.