This site celebrates the life and work of sculptor
John Cassidy (1860 - 1939).
St Paul's Church, adjacent to the memorial, is a late
Victorian 'Low Anglican' edifice, designed by the firm of
Bird and Whittenbury, built in 1876, and extended in 1896.
The octagonal tower, designed by E.P. Oakley was added in
The view along Heaton Moor Road from the memorial.
Our knowledge of
Stockport's part in World War I is greatly enhanced by a 'virtual
memorial' website called 'More than a Name', the product of a vast
amount of research by John
Hartley, which aims to uncover the life story
and war record of everyone whose name appears on an
official memorial in the Borough of Stockport.
The original site has been lost in a web-server mishap, and
not re-created. The links here are go to the copy which has
survived on the Internet Archive.
Thanks to this marvellous site, we can bring you not just a
list of the names on the Heaton Moor memorial, but in the
case of the 1914-19 names, links to the stories of the
Many of these are quite fascinating: the first named, Gerald
Adam, for example, died in action in the north of Russia in
August 1919, well after the official end of the War. Two of
the dead were natives of Germany, who had volunteered for
the British Army in 1914. Germans formed a significant
minority in the Manchester area at the time.
In other cases, it has become clear that the name on the
memorial is mis-spelled, and there are several names
on the memorial about whom Mr Hartley's extensive
research has failed to find any information at all.
This appears to be a common problem for War Memorial
Many, but not all, of the names also appear on Stockport's
main memorial in the War Memorial Art Gallery, and some also
have a third mention on a memorial elsewhere in Stockport.
Follow the links below to the stories on the 'More than a
Names on the Memorial
OS Grid reference:
Heaton Moor War Memorial, Stockport
Heaton Moor is a residential suburb, developed in what was
once open country - a 'moor' in this area refers to land
exploited for peat extraction - following the opening
of a station at nearby Heaton Chapel by the Manchester and
Birmingham Railway in 1852. It is distinguished by many
large houses and public buildings from the Victorian period,
although today many of them have been subdivided into flats,
as the wealthier members of society now generally prefer
more rural surroundings. Being on the north side of the
river Mersey, it was in the county of Lancashire until it
was absorbed into the County Borough of Stockport just
before World War I, placing it in Cheshire. From 1974
it has been part of the Borough of Stockport in Greater
Following the carnage of World War I, it was proposed
to commemorate those serviceman from both Heaton Moor
and Heaton Chapel killed in the First World War. After some
discussion, in the local press and elsewhere, on
whether to erect a statue or provide a more
utilitarian memorial in the form of a gymnasium, a public
meeting decided in favour of the statue.
John Cassidy, whose studio was just a few miles away,
was approached for a design and proposed a bronze memorial
of a soldier and an angel on a stone pedestal, at an
estimated cost was £1,800 - £2,000, and agreed not to use
the same model for any other memorial within a thirty-mile
radius. The original proposal of a soldier and an angel,
theme of several Cassidy memorials, notably that at
Clayton-le-Moors, was not finally realised at Heaton
Moor (perhaps due to financial considerations) and the
final work features the soldier alone on a Portland stone
pedestal. In this writer's opinion, a more effective and
The sepia view above, from an old postcard, shows the
memorial in its original form, sometime before World War II,
before the front of the plinth was altered to include names
from World War II and, much later, the spaces each
side were filled with Stockport council's standardised black
and cast iron flower-boxes.
In fact Cassidy did use a very similar design at Colwyn Bay in Wales, safely
outside the 30-mile limit.
The memorial in 2008. The wall was repaired in 2000 after
being struck by a road vehicle.
The site chosen for the memorial was on Heaton Moor Road,
the main road through the settlement, in front of St Paul's
church, on land obtained from the church. Stone seating was
planned for the space behind the memorial but this never
appeared, apparently due to lack of money. Manchester
architect James Henry
Sellars (who also worked with Cassidy on the Skipton memorial) was responsible
for the semi-circular ashlar wall. The completed memorial
was unveiled on 30 January 1921 in a ceremony attended by
Charles Royle, Mayor of Stockport. Cassidy was congratulated
for producing a statue which 'suggested great ideals: it
suggested something of the infinite; it suggested heroic
endurance and sustained fortitude and triumph in the face of
Two views of Cassidy's soldier.
Portrait of weariness.
The faces of the plinth carry lists of the people of Heaton
Chapel and Heaton Moor who died for their country in the two
World Wars. The first of the two World War I plaques has
been lost, stolen, or otherwise, removed, and replaced with
a replica in rather modern style. 'D. Furguson' is obviously
a mis-spelling of the usual name 'Ferguson' as can be seen
from its position in the alphabetical order. Whether this
error existed in the original we cannot say.
The second half of the list is Cassidy's original: two of
the fixing pins of this one are missing. Like Cassidy's
other monuments in this style, a relief scene is included,
this one giving a graphic illustration of trench warfare.
The lost plaque would have had a different, but related,
A closer view of the relief.
An additional plaque on the back of the plinth, in the same
style as the replacement one, carries seven additional names
from World War I, including a nurse, Gertrude Powicke, the
only woman on any war memorial in Stockport. We presume
these names were the result of additional research.
The 1939-45 plaque on the front of the memorial is rather
awkwardly shaped. Unusually, the number of casualties listed
is of the same order as on the World War I list. Normally,
one find far fewer World War II names on such a memorial. If
you know the reason for the large number, please let us
Shops in Heaton Moor Road, 2008
Written by Charlie Hulme, December 2008. Updated
links October 2022