Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 1 - Delay and Frustration - 1916-1920

Within days of Otter’s proposal the India Office gave it favourable consideration and initial progress was impressively rapid.

Early in July Mr Otter instigated negotiations to convey the land upon which the cremations took place, and the area immediately around it, to the County Borough of Brighton. He put the proposal before the Town Council on 27th July and the land (property of the Marquess of Abergavenny) was conveyed to Brighton town by 31st July, 1916.

Meanwhile, funding was discussed. It was quickly agreed that the India Office and Brighton Corporation would bear half each of the cost of erection, but that Brighton alone would be responsible for ongoing care and maintenance (the second memorial, the southern gateway to the Pavilion, was paid for by subscription raised in India by Sirdar Daljit Singh). The Secretary of State wrote to the mayor on 2nd August commending the “Council’s public spirited decision” in:

“The action they are taking to provide a site for the memorial and their willingness to contribute towards it and undertake the duty of maintenance and preservation [which] will be most welcome to the Government of India, and will be deeply appreciated by the relatives of the fallen, and by the people of India generally.”

The mayor now consulted the architect Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob about a suitable form for a memorial and he sketched out a chatri, a traditional Indian style of memorial, while recommending that “Mr. Henriques, a young native architect just completing his studies in England” should be requested to undertake the design. Mr. E.C. Henriques agreed and the design was complete and in Otter’s possession by December 1916. Otter had ceased to be mayor but, he wrote, “the charge of the business of the memorial remains in my hands.”

The India Office allowed Brighton Council complete discretion as to design and choice of material. Considerable thought was given to implementation of the design, bearing in mind cost of materials, the position on the Downs “exposed to the action of the weather, and to the ill treatment of mischievous boys.” Granite, sandstone and Sicilian marble were considered, and the latter material adopted on the advice of the Curator of the Geological Survey and Museum.

In January 1917 the General Purposes Committee of Brighton Council voted £750 to the scheme and this was matched by the India Office. The ex-mayor, now Sir John Otter invited firms in London, Manchester and Brighton to tender for the work, the deadline for tenders being 21st June. Seven tenders were received, ranging in price from £2000 to £3200. The Town Clerk estimated that a satisfactory result could be obtained for an all inclusive price of £2500 and intimated that the town would increase its commitment to 50% of that sum. The India Office then approved an increase in their commitment “not to exceed a maximum of £1,300.” Shortly thereafter, it having been decided to execute the work in Sicilian marble, the estimate was raised to £3000 and in August the India Office again agreed to increase its share.

Messrs. William Kirkpatrick Ltd. of Trafford Park, Manchester, were now engaged to carry out the work but due to wartime conditions all building projects costing more than £500 required a licence from the Ministry of Munitions. The blow fell in a letter from the Ministry dated 4th August: “…I am directed to express much regret that at the present time, when labour of all kinds is immediately required for very urgent National work, and there are great difficulties in connection with the transport of materials it has been found impossible to grant the licence for which you have applied.”

After further correspondence the Ministry agreed to stonework being worked in quarries, so long as preparatory work on site and actual shipment of stone be postponed until a licence could be granted. The Contract with Kirkpatrick’s was duly signed on 20th April 1918, the total cost being given as £2523.00. Setbacks continued to dog the project: in February 1919 Kirkpatrick reporting that the Italian marble contractor was refusing to honour his contract owing to war conditions in Italy. The marble was ultimately received in May 1920.