This is arguably the case with the subject of this blog posting: a bus-stop in the unremarkable town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in the south east of England. Hovering over the waiting passengers is a bronze bayoneted rifle held in the iron grip of a soldier statue. This is the work of the sculptor, Stanley Nicholson Babb FRBS (c.1873-1957) and dates from 1922. It forms the centrepiece of a memorial to the First and Second World Wars. It in turn provides a name and a geographical anchor for the bus-stops that traverse the street in front. They are: War Memorial.
Questions Do many travellers reflect on this fact or cast an eye up to the ever-present soldier? Of those that do, how many look at the panels listing the dead? As they read the names, do they concur with the sentiments inscribed beneath the bronze feet of the statue: OUR GLORIOUS DEAD?
This token of death seeps into the hurly-burly of the living. Those that fought and died so many years ago still exist, but they have taken on new forms: metamorphosed into stone and bronze; transfigured into bus-stops; inscribed into bus timetables.
I have since discovered that, following a recommendation from English Heritage, the memorial has been granted Grade II listed status (BBC 2011). This should afford it some protection - something that might be necessary if plans go ahead to redevelop the civic centre complex (Pudelek 2011).
BBC (2011) "Tunbridge Wells war memorial given listed status", BBC News, 16/07, accessed 08/09/2011
Pudelek, Jenna (2011) "Tunbridge Wells War Memorial achieves listed status", KOS Media, 16/07, accessed 08/09/2011