Birthplace of Wilfred Owen



~ The Wilfred Owen Commission ~

a significant art work sited in Oswestry, Shropshire

The Commission

Wilfred Owen is regarded internationally as the true poet of WW1. His poetry recorded in moving and dramatic language the apocalyptic scale and dreadful circumstances of the slaughter of a generation of young men. Wilfred’s death, just days before the Armistice, was an incalculable loss to the world of literature.

Project Concept

The primary aim of this project is to make a lasting commemoration of Wilfred Owen’s memorable life and poetry in his birthplace of Oswestry, Shropshire and, in the context of the centenary of WW1, to introduce Owen’s poetry to a new generation of people.

Oswestry Town Council, working with Qube and The Best of Oswestry, wishes to commemorate the location of the poet’s birth. They are in liaison with the local authority at Ors in Northern France who have commemorated the place where Wilfred died by the construction of a stunning memorial incorporating the Forester’s House in which Wilfred spent his last night. They commissioned English artist Simon Patterson to design and French architect Jean-Christophe Denise for construction. It is a powerful place.

These two significant artistic statements commemorating Owen’s birth and death will be jointly acknowledged in the promotional materials at the two sites and provide a poignant bridge bringing the two closer together.

The Shropshire landscape and particularly the family home, Plas Wilmot in Oswestry where he was born, had a deep significance for the Owen family and was a great influence on Wilfred’s formative years as recognised by English Heritage. Wilfred refers back to it affectionately in his wartime letters and the name Plas Wilmot was used nostalgically by later family members in naming their subsequent dwellings. The Owen family were well established and respected in Oswestry and it is fitting that Wilfred Owen‘s literary achievement should be nationally recognised and commemorated in the town.


Brief Description the Commission


Aim of the Commission


1) Through a quality art-work, to raise awareness of:

  • the outstanding quality of Owen’s WW1 poetry and make it relevant to 21st Century adults and young people
  • the impact of WW1 on British Society

2) The work should be:

  • accessible to both an arts and non arts audience who may not be aware of the great impact of WW1 on Oswestry and North Shropshire.
  • accessible to people interested in the poetry of Wilfred Owen and the WW1 period.
  • informative to visitors to the area.

3) The work should create:

  • a recognition of the pre-eminence of Wilfred Owen’s achievement through his poetry and,
  • should consist of a high quality art work which represents our 21st Century response to his poetry and the dreadful circumstances of WW1.

At this stage we would like to invite artists to submit their own proposals in response to the project. The proposal selected will form the basis of an application for funding to Arts Council England.

The art work will be sited possibly in Cae Glas Park, Oswestry. An attractive public park in the town centre and site of the town’s recently renovated War Memorial.

PLEASE SEND AN OUTLINE of your proposal, approach to the commission and how it would be managed. It should include costing, description of materials, installation and any future maintenance.

Note: sites of significance for Wilfred Owen and WW1 (eg Old Oswestry Hillfort (containing the UK’s only remaining WW1 army training trenches), Park Hall Military Camp (housed and trained troops for WW1) and Plas Wilmot.


The Project is part of a larger World War One Project:

‘Inspirational People’ How they changed our World from Shropshire to WW1 and beyond.

This partnership project is commemorating the lives and work of four truly great people from Northern Shropshire who in their responses to WW1 have had a lasting impact both nationally and internationally, but their achievements are little known in their own communities.

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt whose innovations in orthopaedic practice were developed from their daily experiences in rehabilitating the lives of wounded soldiers from the front. Their work led to the setting up of the world renowned orthopaedic hospital at Gobowen. Eglantine Jebb daughter of an established Ellesmere family created the organisation Save the Children as her response to the impact of the war on children and displaced people in the defeated enemy countries.   She campaigned relentlessly when this was not a fashionable cause. And of course Wilfred Owen, poet and soldier.

Qube / Qube Gallery

Qube is an established Oswestry-based charity which serves the needs of the local community through a number of services including community transport, volunteering, care, training and the arts. The organisation is situated in a fully accessible, custom-converted building in Oswestry town centre.

Qube Arts was established to bring quality art to a rural area, provide opportunities to emerging artists, to reach new audiences and to overcome the barriers of health, age disability and rural isolation. It has operated an innovative arts programme since its inception in 2002 and has an established track record in commissioning original art works. Qube Arts developed the Extramouros project, an international arts partnership culminating in 3 years of sculptural symposia, a year-long international touring exhibition, the development of the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative and Ellesmere Sculpture Trail.


The deadline for submissions is 13th February 2015

Please email your applications c.jackson@qube-oca.org.uk and request a read receipt.

Project Timetable

  1. Artists selection process will take place during March 2015. This will be by small a panel made up of arts practioners and local stakeholders
  2. Application for funding submitted by April 2015
  3. Commencement of project from September 2015
  4. Completion by November 2016 (negotiable for the right submission)