Sunday, May 29, 2011

A. Max Wilkinson's Generous (and Lost) Gift

Here's another "quick hit" on Warren Hill School (1885-1936), once of Meads, Eastbourne.

Last time, we noted that the school had constructed a library/reading room as a memorial [seen, left, the lower building] to the boys of Warren Hill who had lost their lives in the First World War. You may recall, however, that structure was not Warren Hill's only memorial dedicated to the Great War.

In a previous entry, now over 14 months old, we learned that the school had received a "war memorial" donated by Alfred Maximilian "Max" Wilkinson, a Head Master of the school who left Meads in 1918. That memorial was created by noted Edinburgh architect Sir Robert Lorimer. Estimates for the work still exist and were dated March and April 1919. Lorimer's account was settled in August 1920.

Assuming the dedication took place sometime soon after August 1920, it would likely have been planned to coincide with the construction and dedication of the school's new memorial library/reading room. Depending upon the material from which the Wilkinson gift was made, his may have actually been housed inside that edifice.

In an original newsletter of the Eastbourne Local History Society (No. 104) duplicated here [right], it indicates that, after the closing of the school, the memorial may have been "offered to, and placed in, St. John's Church… the only church in Meads." St. John's, however, was bombed during the war, and there is no way right now for us to know if the memorial was inside at the time—or ever.

The newsletter also states, however, that the unnamed person making the enquiry of the Society "has a photograph of the memorial and has sent [the ELHS] a photocopy of it."

Access to the estimates could tell us what from what Lorimer's memorial was made, and if it was intended for indoor or outdoor display at the school. Seeing the photograph of it (or that photocopy mentioned above), we may see it displayed it in its intended setting—perhaps giving us another glimpse of the outside of Warren Hill School, or, as far as my knowledge goes, a first glimpse of the school's interior!

I invite anyone who might have information about the A. Max Wilkinson's generous gift to the school, or an image of it, to share it, please, and thank you in advance!


  1. Memorial was inside building, built over & around a fireplace, of carved oak, made in Edinburgh & shipped to Eastbourne.

  2. Nice post tthanks for sharing