First World War Memorials

Tributes to the Fallen: First World War Memorials

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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100574 items
RIBA10714Clothes lines, Glencaple, near Dumfries

 
RIBA372737 Bidston Road, Oxton, Birkenhead, Merseyside: the dining room

 
RIBA2518-9Alexander Fleming House, Elephant and Castle, Southwark, London


RIBA34554Alton East Estate, Roehampton, London: view of the staggered terrace of houses with twelve-storey point blocks in the background

 
RIBA59327Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: Lynn Chadwick's sculpture 'The Watchers' with the point blocks beyond

 
RIBA4620Alton West Estate, Roehampton, London: the staggered line of old people's cottages


RIBA2478Battersea 'A' Power Station, London, by night

 
RIBA2902-26Berthold Lubetkin in top hat beside caryatid at the entrance to Highpoint Two, North Hill, Highgate, London

 
RIBA2561-10Black & White Milk Bar, Gray's Inn Road, London, at night


RIBA5151Breves Lalique Galleries, Bond Street, London

 
RIBA3722Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, seen from Brushfield Street

 
RIBA3643-71Decimus Burton


RIBA4081Design for a poster for the Central Liquor Control Board entitled 'Use and Beauty' to decorate a pub or canteen, possibly in the Carlisle area

 
RIBA21225Design for a proposed new front for the North Briton public house, 10 New North Road, Hoxton, London

 
RIBA4113Design for a wallpaper entitled 'The Callum'


RIBA20216Design for Bromley Hall School for children with physical disabilities, Bromley Hall Road, Tower Hamlets, London

 
RIBA29448Design for Calverley Grange (now Pembury Grange), Sandown Park, Pembury, Kent: elevation, for Neville Ward

 
RIBA4022Design for Frinton Park Estate, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex


RIBA36739Design for Gatwick Airport: ground floor plan of the terminal building known as 'The Beehive'

 
RIBA36537Design for the Brook Street Hill Garden Village, Brentwood, Essex, for Homesteads Ltd.: plan with perspective details showing examples of proposed houses

 
RIBA4033Design for the interior decoration of the Chapel of St Joseph, Oratory of St Philip Neri, Brompton Road, Kensington, London


RIBA3087-37Designs for Broadleys (now Windermere Motor Boat Club), Gillhead, near Cartmel Fell, Lake Windermere, Cumbria, for Arthur Currer Briggs: perspective of terrace front with inset floor plans

 
RIBA3309-51Dreamland, Margate, Kent

 
RIBA3440-58Eames House, 206 Chautauqua Way, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles


RIBA5251Flats in Holford Square, Finsbury, London: view showing the triaxial plan form of the spiral staircase of Bevin Court

 
RIBA72715Laboratories for the Metropolitan Water Board at New River Head, Rosebery Avenue, London: the entrance hall and corridor

 
RIBA2785-21Norman Foster


RIBA2427-3Penguin Pool, London Zoo, Regent's Park, London: the elliptical pool and ramp

 
RIBA3519-62Philharmonie, Berlin

 
RIBA2706-17Skylon, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London


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