Our War Memorials:I-The London Area page 2
Two other military memorials of not quite the same artistic merit, but equally important, are the Rifle Brigade Memorial in Grosvenor Place, facing the junction of Hobart Place and Grosvenor Gardens, and the Royal Fusiliers Memorial in Holborn, near Gray's Inn Road.
The first of these, the work of Mr. John Tweed, the sculptor, consists of a stone screen forming a hollow quadrant of a circle. Raised on a pedestal in the centre of the screen is a private of the Brigade in full modern kit; below, on the right, is an officer in uniform of the 1800 period; on the left, a private of 1806. The bronze statue of an infantryman which surmounts the Royal Fusiliers Memorial is by Albert Toft. This is a London Memorial, and commemorates the 22,000 men of the City of London Regiment who fell in the Great War.
The other great metropolitan memorial is that erected to all London troops which stands in front of the Royal Exchange steps. A square column of stone bears an heraldic lion grasping a shield; on either side is a life-sized bronze statue of a private in uniform. The architect was Sir Aston Webb, P.R.A., and the sculptor Alfred Drury, R.A. The monument was clearly designed in such a manner as to cause the least possible interference both with passenger traffic near the Exchange and with the view of the columns of the portico.
The striking memorial to the men of the Mercantile Marine and the Fishing Fleets is on Tower Hill, and was unveiled in 1928.
The Royal Army Medical Corps, in addition to making a much-needed gift of £10,000 to the Westminster Abbey Restoration fund, has placed in the nave of the Abbey a stained glass window and a memorial tablet, and in the Chapter House a Golden Book containing the names of 743 officers and 6130 men who fell. It was designed by Mr. J N. Comper. The names of countries in which the Royal Army Medical Corps saw active service are given at the foot.
A couple of hundred yards from the Abbey, in Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital, is the Roll of Honour, inscribed on an alabaster panel, of the English nurses who gave their lives in the War. The members of the military nursing service are also commemorated in the figure of S. George in the Kitchener Chapel in S. Paul's Cathedral.
One more military memorial must be mentioned before this brief summary comes to a close. Near the boathouse in Battersea Park stands a group of three infantrymen on a circular pedestal. This fine piece of sculpture, the work of Mr. Eric Kennington, who himself gave the memorial, is dedicated to the men of the 24th Army Division.
A great part of the responsibility for commemorating the fallen has, of course, fallen upon the local government bodies of all parts of the kingdom. It cannot be said that those in the London area have given us a greater proportion of notable works of art than most. The memorials they have erected excel rather in another direction. The function of our city and borough councils in the national body has been compared to that of women in the home; a not inconsiderable part of it is to minister to our physical comfort and well-being. Now, among the various ministrations of this kind, few have more dignity and beauty about them than the care of the sick. And so, among the memorials for which our local councils have been responsible none are more admirable than those connected with hospitals and nursing institutions. Of these a number take the form of admirable new buildings.
The residents of populous Islington chose to commemorate the 1,337 men who fell in the war by presenting to the Royal Northern Hospital a casualty block and a nurses' home, both of which buildings had long been greatly needed. Other new hospital buildings were erected as war memorials by the boroughs of Woolwich, Ilford and Walthamstow.
The borough of Bermondsey, not content to serve the sick in a structure already existing, vested in the Charity Commissioners a special fund for the maintenance of a children's ward in Guy's Hospital. The hospital also contains a memorial to Guy's men in the form of an arch and screen, designed by Mr. W. J. Walford, which links up the two buildings of the hospital. In this screen are incorporated a number of pillars which belonged to the old Anatomical Museum of Guy's Hospital, erected in 1828 and recently pulled down.
One more hospital memorial must be mentioned: it is that which stands in the grounds of the Metropolitan and City Police Orphanage at Strawberry Hill, Twickenham. It commemorates the 386 officers of the police force who fell in the war. Apart from this one example, all the hospital memorial buildings are due to the enterprise of various municipal authorities. Now, a hospital is a utility building, pure and simple, and were it not for the tablets and special memorials affixed to them, few people would recognize their special character.
There is another kind of building which, though it usually serves a very useful purpose apart from its existence as a memorial, yet strikes the beholder at once as having been put up for some special reason, to serve an unseen, spiritual purpose in addition to that of every day. This is the building that enhances and elaborates the entrance to another existing building. It may be merely a gateway or portico set up in the open air, or it may be a vestibule or lobby incorporated with the larger and older fabric. Such a lobby was put up by the Borough of Stoke Newington adjoining its public library, whose readers all pass in front of the tablet bearing the names of the fallen, claimed to be the most nearly complete of all lists compiled by the London boroughs. The lobby is built of brick, with doorways of Portland stone; its architect was Mr. Arthur G. Porri. Its two doors are glazed, and as the light within is kept burning all night, the tablet is always visible to passers-by.
Two of the great traffic undertakings whose headquarters are in London have erected memorials of a similar kind. The vestibule in the building at St. James's Park Station is dedicated to the memory of the 1,450 employees of the Underground Railways, the L.G.O.C., and the associated tramways and equipment companies who fell in the war. In this vestibule, the work of Messrs. Richardson & Gill, architects, is a gilt bronze statue of S. George by Mr. P. G. Bentham, holding sword and shield at rest.
The memorial to the men of the Southern Railway is incorporated in the northern entrance to Waterloo Station, and is known as the Victory Arch. The arch is decorated with sculptured pylons flanking the gateway. On the left is Bellona, the goddess of war; on the right is a figure of Peace. On the cornice above the archway is a seated figure of Britannia with torch and trident. Under the arch are bronze tablets recording the names of 585 fallen employees. The arch is the work of Mr. J. R. Scott, chief architectural assistant to the railway.
Yet another memorial of a similar kind is that erected by Mill Hill School. The school Gate of Honour stands between the school house and the high road; it was designed by Mr. Stanley Hamp. A Corinthian arch of excellent proportions, it has a coffered ceiling of cedar wood enriched with colour. Six panels record the names of the 196 old boys who fell in the war.
The memorial to the members of the British Medical Association takes the form of a pair of wrought iron gates designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, R.A., the architect of the Association's building in Tavistock Place, to the forecourt of which the Gates of Honour give access.
Of the statues and street monuments erected by local government bodies it is impossible to speak at any length. Mention can only be made of the cenotaph at the junction of Jamaica Road and Union Road, Betmondsey; the cross in Sloane Square, Chelsea; the bronze Victory opposite the Metropolitan Water Board offices in Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell; the winged Victory at the eastern end of Shepherd's Bush Green, Hammersmith; the clock tower facing the tube station at Golder s Green; the figure of Freedom in the Moat Garden, Fulham Palace Road; the obelisk in front of Jack Straw's Castle, Hampstead Heath; the cross at S. Mark's Church, Kennington Gate; the obelisk and lamps of remembrance in High Street, Lewisham; the bronze Christ in Limehouse Church garden, East India Dock Road, the bronze soldier in the Borough High Street, Southwark; and, lastly, the clock tower in Clapham Road Stockwell.
In addition to their memorial at the junction of Church Street and Kensington High Street, designed by Major H. C. Corlette, and containing a fine female figure by Mr. F. W. Pomeroy, R.A., the Royal Borough of Kensington acquired a considerable area of land in North Kensington, which is now known as the Kensington War Memorial Recreation Ground. Included in the Camberwell Cemetery, in Forest Hill Road, is a portion known as the Soldiers' Corner, where a large number of soldiers and sailors lie buried. Here a Portland stone screen wall has been erected by the Imperial War Graves Commission. The Borough Memorial is situated in the Soldiers' Corner, and takes the place of a stone cenotaph; a short distance away is the tablet to the twenty-two victims of German raids, including one during which one of the largest bombs dropped on London claimed a dozen victims.
Other air raid memorials are to be found in the Poplar Recreation Ground, East India Dock Road, dedicated to eighteen children killed in an L.C.C. school, and on the facade of the Bedford Hotel in Southampton Row, Bloomsbury.
Of the monuments erected by large commercial undertakings perhaps the most interesting are those of the great railway companies, some of whose memorials in another manner have already been noticed. In the approach to Euston Station stands an obelisk designed by Mr. R. Wynn Owen, and dedicated to the memory of 3,719 employees of the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The obelisk is surrounded by four bronze figures representing the various branches of His Majesty's forces: the Navy, Infantry, Artillery and Flying Corps. No individual names are given.
The Great Western Memorial takes the form of a bronze statue by Mr. C. S. Jagger, the sculptor of the Artillery Memorial, which is seen silhouetted against a stone screen on the main platform of Paddington Station. Most of the insurance companies have similarly distinguished themselves. The Pearl Assurance Company has a statue of S. George, by Sir George Frampton, in its courtyard in High Holborn; the Commercial Union in Cornhill a bronze group by Mr. C. L. Hartwell, A.R.A., forming part of a whole designed by Sir John Simpson, the architect; the Prudential a winged group, by Mr. F. V. Blundstone, R.B.S., under the archway in Holborn Bars; the Eagle, Star and British Dominions a bronze tablet in their Threadneedle Street entrance hall. A happy inspiration has caused the Phccnix Assurance Company to put up two memorials side by side, one dedicated to the men who fell and the other to the survivors.
We have already glanced at a kind of memorial of which most people will wish there had been a good many more in London and elsewhere, the special embellishment of a room in an existing building.
Few things could be, at the same time, more effective as memorials and more sensible and pleasing in themselves than these works which consist in the ennobling of something that is already with us, and is perhaps indispensable anyhow. Professor A. R. Richardson, who, with his partner, Mr. C. Lovett Gill, designed the Underground memorial vestibule, is responsible for another of such size and importance that it almost deserves to rank as a new building. This is the Great Hall of University College, which is a memorial both to members of that College and to members of University College Hospital Medical School. The shell of the building, which stands in Gordon Square, is that of the old church of All Saints, erected in 1846 from the design of Professor Donaldson, who was the first Professor of Architecture in the College.
A gallery has been inserted and a coffered ceiling of unpolished cedar wood applied to the old roof beams; these and every lesser detail of the new internal finishings are as delicately adjusted as anything of the kind in London. From the outside of the building the bell-turret and one or two adjuncts equally ecclesiastical were taken away, and the Arms of the University were inserted in the pediment over the entrance.
Another distinguished interior memorial is the oak screen and stained glass windows designed for Westminster School by Sir Robert Lorimer, the architect of the Scottish War Memorial at Edinburgh. The screen, which occupies the whole of the lower part of the wall at the south end of the school, is pierced by two doorways in which new oak doors have been substituted for the old ones, and which are surmounted by trophy panels composed of gas masks, Lewis guns and other emblems. Each of the four pairs of pilasters embraces a long panel carrying its due share of the 225 names of fallen Westminsters. In the three windows, the work of Mr. Douglas Strachan, who was also associated with Sir Robert Lorimer at Edinburgh, the Royal Arms and the Arms of Westminster are flanked by the Arms of the Oxford and Cambridge Colleges with which Westminster School is particularly connected.
Of the many hundred mural tablets scattered about London only a very few can be referred to here. Many of them are well designed and bear inscriptions incomparably better than they could have been at the opening of the century, before the modern movement in lettering and calligraphy had achieved any noticeable result. Mr. Eric Gill is responsible for at least three of the most meritorious. In conjunction with Mr. Charles Holden, the architect, he designed the beautiful tablet, surmounted by an ever-burning lamp in a bronze casket, in the forecourt of the building of the Overseas League in Park Place, behind Piccadilly.
Mr. Gill also, with his own hand, carved on a pilaster in the portico of the British Museum the names of eleven members of the British Museum who gave their lives, and below these a wreath and the following beautiful lines by Mr. Laurence Binyon, who is an officer of the Museum:
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
The same artist carved the tablet at the Victoria and Albert Museum. His brother, Mr. Macdonald Gill, is responsible for the stone panel in the entrance of the banking offices of Baring Brothers in Bishopsgate. Amongst the names on this panel is that of a managing director of the bank, Mr. Patrick Houston Shaw-Stewart, a Fellow of All Souls' College.
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