Community Ownership 1920
Following World War 1 there was national consensus that those who served and died should be remembered. On a national level the government decided in principle on a national memorial in London which it would pay for. The government made it clear, however, that it would not pay for local war memorials and that these should be the responsibility of local communities. As a result of the informal discussions which ad-hoc groups had been having throughout the country, there was an equally informal blueprint about how to create a local war memorial. This blueprint “emerged” from the public without any government involvement or direction. It was so obviously such a practical and sensible plan that it was followed virtually everywhere, with some differences to take account of local circumstances. The plan had a few basic components:
- In each locality a local war memorial committee should be formed from members of the public. The forum for electing these committees would be a public meeting called for that specific purpose.
- It was the responsibility of these committees to raise the funds necessary to build the war memorials
- It was also their responsibility to decide on the nature of the war memorial preferably after public consultation, and to commission its building
- Each memorial would have a list of the local men who had died when serving with the colours no matter what form the memorial took. This list would be collected by the volunteers on the committee and made available for checking by the public who could thus try to ensure that no one was omitted.
- The committee should draw up a plan for the future maintenance of the memorial.
In East Worlington the War Memorial Committee were elected at a well-attended public meeting and consisted of Mrs G Smyth, Miss Hammond, Miss Murch, Messrs. Adams, Chapple, Cox, Hodgson, Hosegood, Shapland, H. Smyth, Stucley, Troake, and F Webber, with Mr Edmonds as Honorary Secretary and Mr Lake as Honorary Treasurer
It was through this Committee that the building was purchased by the community and transferred to the ownership of the Parish Council in 1920. This is recorded in a press cutting from the Parochial Magazine for the Deanery of Chulmleigh in May 1919