Plans for Centenary Fields to mark WW1 anniversary

Four open spaces in Brighton & Hove are set to be dedicated as Centenary Fields to mark the 100th anniversary of World War One.

Old Steine Gardens, the Chattri Memorial on the Downs north of Patcham, Easthill Park in Portslade, and Patcham Peace Gardens are all being recommended for the special status, in a report which will be considered by Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on October 7.

The Centenary Fields initiative is a nationwide scheme being led by the Royal British Legion and Fields in Trust, aimed at securing permanent recreational spaces in honour of the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in World War One.

The move to nominate sites in Brighton & Hove follows a notice of motion to a full council meeting in July which suggested Old Steine Gardens, the Chattri Memorial, and Easthill Park. In addition, residents in Patcham put forward the Patcham Peace Garden.

All of the sites are owned by the council and already protected as public open spaces, however dedicating them as Centenary Fields will give them further recognition as memorials.

•             Old Steine Gardens

Old Steine Gardens are home to Brighton War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1922 to honour those who died in WW1, and is the venue for annual remembrance services. Earlier this month (Sept) a commemorative stone and plaque was unveiled at the memorial in memory of Captain Theodore Wright who was awarded the Victoria Cross in WW1.

•             The Chattri Memorial

During WW1 injured Indian soldiers were treated at military hospitals set up at the Royal Pavilion and the Dome. The Hindus and Sikhs who died were cremated on the Downs and in 1921 the Chattri memorial was built on the cremation site. Memorial services are held every year to honour the dead.

•             Easthill Park

Easthill Park, off Easthill Way, is home to Portslade War Memorial where regular remembrance services are held every year. The memorial was moved to the park in 1954 from its previous location in Trafalgar Road.

•             Patcham Peace Garden

The Patcham Peace Garden was purchased in the 1920s to create a memorial to peace following the Great War. The columns and small temple were purchased from the 1924 Wembley Exhibition and statues were relocated from the old aquarium.

Cllr Pete West, chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: "All these sites have a link with remembering and honouring those who died in conflicts. Dedicating them as Centenary Fields is a fitting way to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

"It is one of a number of ways we are commemorating the anniversary in the city, including memorial services held earlier in the summer, a major exhibition - War Stories: Voices for the First World War - which runs at Brighton Museum until March, an ongoing programme of events and activities at the city's museums and libraries, and a permanent gallery at the Royal Pavilion charting its history as a hospital for Indian soldiers."

At the committee councillors will be recommended to go ahead to apply to the Royal British Legion and the Fields in Trust for the sties to be dedicated as Centenary Fields.

Read the reports for the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee. Centenary Fields is agenda item number 49

Find out more about Centenary Fields

The Chattri Memorial

VC Memorial at Brighton War Memorial

Easthill Park

Patcham Peace Garden