Heritage experts have upgraded the protection given to Blackpool’s war memorial in recognition of rare engravings on the seafront obelisk.
The monument on Princess Parade, near North Pier, has been reclassified by Historic England as a Grade II* listed structure.
This is a level up from its previous classification as Grade II.
The change follows a review by Historic England of all war memorials around the country in the run up to the centenary of the end of the First World War in 2018.
The war memorial is one of only five Grade II* listed buildings in the town joining the Grand Theatre, Sacred Heart Church, the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Winter Gardens.
Coun Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said “This is a fantastic recognition of all the work put in by the council in partnership with the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee over the last 10 years.
“This town is synonymous with the Armed Forces and we are again looking forward to celebrating them during Armed Forces Week, which begins on Monday.
“We’re thrilled to have the upgrade to II* but we shouldn’t forget that this doesn’t change what’s really important about our war memorial – the role it plays in reminding everyone of the sacrifices made by local people in wartime.”
Joan Humble, chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust, said: “Blackpool Civic Trust has been working with Civic Voice and Historic England as part of the War Memorials Project and have been recording little known war memorials across the town.
“Some of them were in churches, some in community spaces or clubs but all of them are important in highlighting how our communities have played an important role in the many conflicts that these memorials commemorate.”
Among the reasons for the upgrade are that the memorial boasts high-quality bronze plaques by Gilbert Ledward, a leading sculptor and President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.
It is also unusual in depicting women on a war memorial, including a wife and child left behind by enlisting men, a nurse, a grieving widow and a small girl, and an extremely rare depiction of a fallen German combatant.
Originally unveiled in 1923, the war memorial underwent a major restoration in 2007/8 when the stonework and bronzes were cleaned.