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The war memorial is located on the corner of The Avenue and Newland Street in attractive and well-maintained gardens. The benches provide a quiet resting place from the busy main road.

 

The memorial itself is a good example of its kind, and is Grade II listed. It is by Sir Charles Nicholson with a fine bronze plaque by Gilbert Ledward. It was unveiled Nov 20, 1920, and has been added to for the Second World War and also for a conflict since, where a Witham resident gave his life in the service of his country.

The Memorial Garden has a gingko tree, its leaves are a startling bright yellow in autumn and are a distinctive fan shape, and this is one of three in Witham. Witham's ginkgo trees are less than 150 years old, but fossils show that in the world as a whole, they are the oldest living tree, dating back more than 250 million years,
having survived the extinction of the dinosaurs. Our own trees are a "living fossil", to quote Charles Darwin.
For about the last three million years, the only ones surviving in the wild have been in China. In 1762 some seeds were brought from China to Kew Gardens, and in due course ginkgo bilobas were planted in high-class gardens all over Britain.

The Memorial is the location of Witham's Annual Remembrance Service, on 11th November, to commemorate the armistice after the First World War, in common with many locations over across the country. The postcard view below shows the Memorial Garden as it was first constructed.

Sources: Witham & Countryside Society; Braintree & Witham Times; Janet Gyford.

Timber framing of Witham Town Hall.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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