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7 November 2023

Designation of Oban war memorial 100 years after it was first unveiled

The memorial has been listed for its special architectural and historic interest

The statue of the Oban war memorial with a cloudy sky shown in black and white

Image © Oban and Ganavan Heritage

A war memorial in Oban has been given listing status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) this year, 100 years after it was first built and unveiled on 11 November 1923. The memorial has now been designated due to the high quality of its sculpture by sculptor Alexander Carrick, who made an important contribution to war memorials in Scotland, as well as for its historic significance.

The memorial, which is situated on the Corran Esplanade looking out over Oban Bay, carries a dedication on its plinth in Gaelic: "Mairidh an cliu agus an ainm gu siorruidh", roughly meaning "Their renown and name will last forever". Alongside the dedication are the names, ranks, regiments and decorations of local casualties of the First World War, the Second World War, and the Falklands Conflict.

The community of Oban decided to create the memorial in 1919. It was originally paid for by public subscription, and the community raised most of the £1,450 cost in six weeks. The sculptor, Alexander Carrick, was a veteran of the First World War himself, and designed the memorial with distinctly Scottish elements, including the kilted uniforms depicted on the sculpture and the rubble-built plinth, reflective of a stone cairn.

Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said:

"Oban and Ganavan Heritage approached us and asked us to consider listing the Oban war memorial. We recently added it to the list, just in time for the 100th anniversary of its dedication.

“While all war memorials are extremely important in ensuring we remember the impact of these global conflicts on people and communities, some like this one, are also recognised and listed for their artistic value.

“We always welcome suggestions for new designations from individuals and community groups.”

Oban and Ganavan Heritage said:

Oban War Memorial is held with great affection from local people and visitors to the town and is frequently visited. As Oban and Ganavan Heritage we have worked closely with Oban War Memorial Centenary Group over the last two years."

"We are very pleased to have been in discussion with HES in conjunction with War Memorial Trust and that HES has now chosen to designate the war memorial. This reflects the importance of Alexander Carrick’s work and the quality of the war memorial. It is timely given that this is the centenary of the memorial’s unveiling."

War memorials are a very common structure across Scotland, with around 2,800 recorded on the National Record of the Historic Environment. They are mostly constructed in the years following the First World War in memory of those killed during the conflict, and are found in a wide range of designs, from simple to highly elaborate. The high-quality sculpture on the Oban memorial, along with the coastal setting reflecting the maritime nature of the town, make it stand out as a particularly good example of this extensive group and period of commemorative monuments.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the process that identifies, designates, and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Listing is intended to ensure that what is special about a structure is taken into account in decisions about its future. How HES makes decisions about listing is set out in the Designations Policy and Selection Guidance.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Robin Kepple
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962