Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
Photo: Ken Saiger


Plaque 1914-18 Earl's House School





Original Location

Earl’s House School, Lanchester Road, Durham.

Present Location

Reception/cafe area Lanchester Road Hospital, Durham

Which war


Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Unveiled January 1920 by Major J. Ritson, 8th D.L.I.
Restored, replaced and unveiled November 7th 2014 by Brent Kilmurray and Marcus Hawthorn.

Memorial Description

Plaque. There is a wide border of leaves broken at centre top by an elaborate cross. Lettering is in elongated sans serif capitals.

Materials used



To the memory of the following who gave their lives for their country in the European War 1914-1918


Who commissioned

Major Ritson.


1. This was an Industrial School on the site now occupied by Earl’s House Hospital. It closed in 1922.

2. The unveiling took place at the annual prize-giving ceremony.

3. Major Ritson and previous members of his family had shown “a long series of acts of kindness” to the school over many years.

4. In 2002 the brasses were relocated to Durham Hospital. It was taken at some time after to Winterton Hospital Chapel. In 2009, when it obvious that the area was to be redeveloped, an approach was made to the Health authorities who allowed the brasses to be taken into private hands.

5. Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Trust Website November 7th 2014
A plaque commemorating the memory of staff and pupils from the former Earls House Industrial School, Durham who lost their lives during the First World War has been returned to its rightful place today November 7th 2014 after being rescued from a skip.
The memorial plaque names nine men and was originally unveiled in 1919 at the school which stood on the site of the Lanchester Road Hospital in Durham.
The plaque was rescued from a skip by local history enthusiast David Hillerby in 2012 and restored with the help of Durham County Council’s archive team, the Friends of Durham County Record Office (FODCRO) and the Tees Esk and Wear Valleys Trust.
The plaque was unveiled in the reception/cafe area of the hospital alongside information boards providing an overview of Earls House Industrial School.
Marcus Hawthorn, non-executive director, TEWV and British Legion Northern Area Manager, said “The Earls House memorial plaque captures an important moment in time; one which we must not forget. It commemorates those men who gave their lives for our country – men who worked and studied on this very site, formerly Earls House Industrial School, now Lanchester Road Hospital. To be able to play a role in ensuring this piece of history returns to its rightful place is hugely satisfying and helps the memory of the fallen live on.”
Liz Bregazzi, county archivist at Durham County Record Office, said: “We are delighted to see the plaque conserved and restored to its original home. A chance meeting with Mr Hillerby by the Friends of Durham County Record Office while fundraising for the project Durham at War, helped identify and research the history of the plaque and ensure that the boys and their bandmaster who gave their lives are remembered forever.”

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Ken Saiger; John Dixon

Durham Chronicle 2/1/1920 reports unveiling.

North Mail 1/1/1920 reports memorial to “the bandmaster and seven old scholars”.

Northern Echo 30/11/1922 reports proposals to close the school due to serious decline in the numbers of pupils.

Auckland and County Chronicle 8/1/1920 reports unveiling.

Durham Times 14/11/2014 reports rededication.

External web link

Links to Source Material :

Additional Research documents (click to download)

Research acknowledgements

Dorothy Hall; David Hillerby; Ken Saiger; John and Mavis Dixon

Research In Progress

If you are researching this memorial please contact

Plaque 1914-18 Earl's House School (D47.098)


   To the memory of the following
   who gave their lives for their country
   in the European War 1914-1918

   Sergeant Robert Yule, 19th Durham Light
   Infantry, School Bandmaster

   Old Scholars
   Sergeant John R. Bell, 3rd Rifle Brigade
   Gunner William Cribbin, Royal Garrison Artillery
   Private John George Davison, 7th King’s Own Scottish Borderers
   Private George Reynolds, 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers
   Private Robert Richardson, 11th Durham Light Infantry
   Private John Willis, 10th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
   Private Thomas Charles Wilson, 16th Durham Light Infantry
   Private Maurice Rogerson Wood, 6th Durham Light Infantry.


You are looking at all the information and the best images we have so far on this memorial. If you can supply more information or better images please get in touch by sending an email to

Parish Notes

Every Name A Story