Grade II Listed Memorial 1911. Italian marble life-sized statue standing under a classical porch with composite columns supporting entablature, cornice and balustraded parapet; black marble panelled doors slightly ajar, reputed to be a replica of the entrance to her home, The Grange, Beeston (now demolished)
Inscription on right plinth: ‘TO THE DEAR MEMORY OF/ ETHEL/ WIFE OF WALTER PRESTON/OF THE GRANGE BEESTON/ DIED MARCH 24th 1911 AGED 50 YEARS’
And on left plinth: ‘TO THE DEAR MEMORY OF/ WALTER/ HUSBAND OF EMILY
AND THE LATE ETHEL PRESTON/ DIED OCT 24th 1930’.
Walter Preston was a manufacturing chemist. He married Ethel West in 1882. They had no children. When she died aged 50 in 1911, he erected this elaborate monument to her. It is said that Ethel is standing waiting at the open door to be reunited with her husband and that the door would finally be closed when he joined her. However, Walter Preston married his 22-year-old house keeper Emily Florence Richardson just a year after Ethel’s demise.
The monument caused quite a stir when it was erected. Extra trams were laid on for the thousands of visitors who flocked to see it and a police presence was needed to keep order among the queues. I believe that there was a charge of 3d to view Ethel’s memorial and that postcards of it were also on sale.