Figures on the South African War Memorial by Sir W. Hamo Thornycroft. 1908. The two bronze figures are on a rccky bronze base with a bronze bay-wreath at the front. The granite pedestal has plaques on every side, three recording the names of the fallen, and remembering also those who remained unidentified ("those others who cannot be named"). St Ann's Square, Manchester. This dramatic and evocative memorial shows two larger-than-lifesize privates of the Manchester Regiment in the very thick of battle. An injured man is passing up ammunition to a comrade who continues to defend their position: "that is how the country saw it at the time, a war for the defence of an Empire defiant in the face of adversity" (Worthington 36).

Left to right: (a) The figures from another angle. (b) The whole monument, in this smart square, once the site of an "annual fair," then a "select residential area" (Hartwell 199). (c) Figures from the rear, the awkwardness of the legs and the outstretched arm suggesting the stress and confusion of battle.

Close-up of the soldier with his fixed bayonet. Thornycroft has depicted with "new realism" an actual incident during the fighting at Ladysmith (Worthington 37). The memorial is certainly powerful and dramatic rather than reflective.

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Photographs, text and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee, Associate Editor, the Victorian Web. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images for larger pictures.]


Hartwell, Clare. Manchester. Pevsner Architectural Guides. London: Penguin, 2001. Print.

Worthington, Barry. Discovering Manchester: A Walking Guide to Manchester and Salford. Rev. ed. Wilmslow, Cheshire: Sigma, 2005. Print.

Wyke, Terry, with Harry Cocks. Sculpture of Greater Manchester. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2004. Print

Last modified 3 April 2012