World War One memorial at Ripon Cathedral objected by Harrogate council

rip  Ripon Cathedral lit by floodlights.  100329M2c.
rip Ripon Cathedral lit by floodlights. 100329M2c.

Harrogate Borough Council have objected to a World War One memorial at Ripon Cathedral, claiming it will result in a ‘cluttered appearance’.

The memorial to the men and women who fought in World War One is set to be unveiled at the Cathedral in a commemorative service on November 1.

Artist Charles Gurrey has designed a series of carved oak commemorative panels, inscribed with the words of Wilfred Owen, to be placed above the altar and under the Bishop’s Hood.

However, a spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council said: “the proposed siting of the oak commemorative panels in association with the Bishops Hood and stained glass window is considered to result in a cluttered appearance to the west wall of the north aisle, within the Chapel of Justice and Peace.”

Julia Barker, Director of Operations at Ripon Cathedral, said she would take the council’s comments on board but confirmed the plans had already been approved by the Fabric Advisory Committee.

The principle text on four of the five oak panels will join up two phrases from the Preface Wilfred Owen drafted at Ripon for his collected war poems he hoped to publish in 1919 alongside two phrases from Strange Meeting.

The text will read: ‘My subject is war. The poetry is in the pity. I mean the truth untold. The pity war distilled.’

Mr Gurrey said: “The fifth panel and the cross are almost like an addition, or something attributed. The Cathedral want to remember Wilfred Owen and all who did serve and still do, ‘before God’”

In the tablet project brief, a statement from Ripon Cathedral said ‘the words and sculpture must speak clearly and distinctively to all’.

The brief read: “This commission is not intended to be a monument to an individual (Wilfred Owen)but seeks to say something enduring, powerful and universal on the nature of conflict and humanity.  

“The searing and permanent impact of the Great War (and subsequent and current conflicts) on human society and memory is a powerful motivation for this commission.

“As noted above, this commission is not a memorial to Wilfred Owen the person – but it does seek to harness his words and association with Ripon.”