First World War Memorials

Tributes to the Fallen

First World War Memorials in the RIBA Collections

To mark 100 years since the end of World War One, RIBApix presents a collection of images showing both built and unexecuted First World War Memorials from around the world.

The devastating and unimaginable number of casualties as well as the destruction of large areas of Europe, led to The Great War of 1914-1918 being known at the time as “the war to end all wars”. Thousands of families around the world were affected, with many communities losing a large portion of their young, male population. Hundreds of villages and towns across Europe were badly damaged or in some cases destroyed by the war. In addition to the many lives lost, World War One also resulted in millions of soldiers returning home with both physical and mental scars, forever impacted by their participation in the conflict.

The monumental impact of The Great War globally resulted in a major shift in how nations commemorated it. Huge numbers of memorials were built around the world, with over 100,000 in France alone. Many towns and villages constructed small memorials to the men their communities had lost. Thousands of memorial walls of honour were put up in factories, railway stations, schools and universities to commemorate participants from institutions. The Royal Institute of British Architects’ memorial is outside of the Jarvis Hall at its headquarters at 66 Portland Place, to commemorate ‘members, licentiates and students’ who lost their lives in the First World War. The majority of these were paid for by the communities and institutions themselves.

Beyond these smaller more community driven memorials, larger ones were also built, driven by governments and international organisations. The Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) for example was set up to create memorials to soldiers from Great Britain and the wider commonwealth that had fought in the war, including the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, and the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. The Cenotaph, London’s most prominent memorial built after the First World War, was designed by Edwin Lutyens, initially a temporary structure made of wood and plaster, built as Whitehall’s monument for the London Victory Parade on 19 July 1919. On the 30th July that year, the British War Cabinet decided that a permanent war memorial should replace the temporary one. The final completed version, built from Portland Stone by Holland & Hannen and Cubitts, was unveiled by King George V on 11 November 1920, the second anniversary of the end of the First World War.

As well as the memorials constructed across the world, war cemeteries also represented a strong example of the way the First World War was commemorated. The Treaty of Versailles made all nations responsible for the maintenance of military graves within their countries. The countries of the soldiers interned there however, held control over the style and design of the cemeteries. Architecturally, most war memorials and war cemeteries built to commemorate the First World War were conservative in design, commonly following classical themes, attempting to provide a noble, enduring commemoration of the fallen.

To see additional images of war memorials from the First World War, Click here. To see images of war memorials from all conflicts, Click here.

 

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RIBA64332Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: students relaxing on the raked concrete benches by the east front entrance

 
RIBA64334Berkeley Library, Trinity College, Dublin: the entrance hall

 
RIBA84028Plan of Nottingham Castle


RIBA12953Plan of Nottingham Castle

 
RIBA84030View of Nottingham Castle with gabled houses and a church at the bottom of the hill

 
RIBA84031View of the north face of Nottingham Castle: elevation


RIBA3116-39"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: "Expando-Space", an expanding adaptable space

 
RIBA28004"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: multi-purpose foam block put to various uses

 
RIBA4684"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: over-bed cloud forms


RIBA4682"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: sketch annotated "Type of building for Expandospace Exhibition"

 
RIBA4683"Experiments in Living" exhibition, Maples store, London: sketch of room plan for Expandospace Exhibition

 
RIBA59992"Seco" prefabs


RIBA3455-59"Seco" temporary bungalow

 
RIBA59991"Seco" temporary bungalows, McLeod Road, Woolwich, London

 
RIBA42359(Former) Bedford Park Stores, Bath Road, Bedford Park, Turnham Green, London


RIBA34719[C] Space - DRL 10 Pavilion, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA34720[C] Space - DRL 10 Pavilion, Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA105569’Devil’s Elbow’, Skyline Drive, Prospect Ridge, Nassau, for Mr & Mrs A. R. McDonald


RIBA13515202 Arena (Millenium Dome), North Greenwich, London, at dawn

 
RIBA13515102 Arena (Millenium Dome), North Greenwich, London, just before dawn

 
RIBA607081 & 2 Laurence Pountney Hill, City of London


RIBA607091 & 2 Laurence Pountney Hill, City of London

 
RIBA800331 & 3 Wells Rise, St John's Wood, London

 
RIBA692521 and 2 Coach and Horses Yard, Savile Row, Westminster, London


RIBA60351 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London

 
RIBA156561 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London: the entrance hall

 
RIBA1019831 Boulevard Charles V, Nancy


RIBA279821 Bridge Street, The Cross, Chester, Cheshire

 
RIBA523511 Broad Street, Stamford

 
RIBA83801 Chester Gate, Regent's Park, London: leather screen painted by Mary Adshead


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