The home of the
Nottinghamshire Firefighter's Memorial

The memorial to those who gave their life in the service of others as a member of the Fire and Rescue Services of the Second World War and in the subsequent years was unveiled on May 9th 2013 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. The Unveiling coincided with the 72nd anniversary of one of the most severe bombing raids suffered by Nottingham during world War II. This raid took many civilian lives including some of those commemorated by the memorial.
The roof of St. Mary's was set on fire during this raid and it is thanks to the brave and selfless efforts of two National Fire Service Firemen that this beautiful building was saved. Some of their recolections of that fire are recorded below in the "History of St Mary's". Both survived the War and became members of the Nottingham City Fire Brigade once the National Fire Service was disbanded and responsibility returned to local authorities.

History of St.Mary’s

It is thought that a church has stood at this location since Saxon times. The Domesday Survey in 1086 makes mention of its presence and the current church, at least the third to be built on the site, can be dated back to 1370. St Mary’s is constructed in the Perpendicular style. The building is in the shape of a Latin cross with a tower at the crossing of the nave, transepts and chancel, with huge windows, delicate tracery, and slender ribbed pillars. The exterior is richly decorated with gargoyles, carved heads and animals. It is typical of the great churches constructed in the 14th and 15th centuries. Internally, there are fine examples of Victorian woodwork by George Gilbert Scott and by Bodley & Garner. St Mary’s is one of the key buildings in the city of Nottingham; it is Grade 1listed and the oldest and largest of the five medieval buildings in the city. In 1140, Nottingham was pillaged by a raiding Army commanded by the Earl of Gloucester. The church was set on fire and destroyed.


The Memorial from the front door of St Mary's Church

The Story of the Stone

Our stone began its journey as a 1.3 tonne lump of rough York stone, hewn from a quarry near Leeds.
It was transported to a plant in Cambridge where it was cut into its finished shape. From there it travelled to Nottingham, where it was entrusted to a Master cutter whose 45 years’ experience is evident in the quality of the finish, he has spent some 300 hours skilfully hand cutting each letter into the four faces and plinths of the monument, before infilling each letter with black enamel by hand. The names of the fallen are recorded on three sides of the stone according to the service they represented, the insignia of each service is hand cut into polished black Granite plaques and inlaid into the respective faces of the stone.
Before siting the stone, careful surveys of the ground had to be made to ensure there were no underground voids or burials, a concrete footing was then laid to provide a stable platform on which the memorial could be mounted.










web master Alan Yeo

In 1171, the town was sacked again, and the rebuilt church was once more ravaged by fire. For several years from 1716, the church was used to house the town fire engine. It was kept at the west end, and was still there until at least 1770. In 1941 St Mary’s had its third brush with fire when an incendiary bomb set ablaze the roof of the south transept. Fireman Chris Raybould recorded that he and Reg Miller had great difficulty in dealing with the fire high up in the roof timbers as they lacked a fire hose which were in short supply, and there was a lack of water pressure. They eventually used a trailer pump and put out the fire but he described the church as “being ringed with fire”. Throughout its history the fate of St Mary’s Church has been inextricably linked with fire and those who fight it, having been set alight three times, and then housing the town fire engine, it has a certain resonance with the Firefighting community, making it a most fitting home for the Nottinghamshire Firefighters Memorial

Updated January 17, 2014

©Nottinghamshire Firefighters Memorial 2013