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.

Feature by Anthony Wilkinson.

 

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RIBA4027Design for a Polyfoto studio

 
RIBA4028Designs for the interior decoration of 1 Grosvenor Crescent, London, for Sir Wilfrid Lawson M.P.: alternative elevation of the staircase well showing decoration

 
RIBA4030Design for the interior decoration of a cinema auditorium, probably in Newcastle-upon-Tyne


RIBA4031Design for two stained glass windows of flowers and Arabic characters for Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA4032Design for the elevation of a wall of the picture gallery, Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

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


RIBA4034Designs for the interior decoration of 1 South Audley Street, Mayfair, London: central chimneypiece in the smoking room

 
RIBA4035Designs for the interior decoration of 52 Prince's Gate, London, for Thomas Eustace Smith, Esq.: elevation of a wall and left doorway in the boudoir

 
RIBA4037Church of the Holy Trinity, Prince Consort Road, London


RIBA4038Preliminary design for Dance Music and Chamber Music Studio, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London

 
RIBA4039Design for Fouracre, West Green, Hampshire

 
RIBA4040Design for a party invitation for the Architectural Association Rugby Club


RIBA4041Design for a metropolis

 
RIBA4042Design for 'The Tudor House' public house, Shoreham, Sussex

 
RIBA4043Design for Gillander House, Clive Buildings, Kolkata (Calcutta), viewed from the south


RIBA4044Design for a house in Kent

 
RIBA4045Design for the decoration of the statue of Eros for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Piccadilly Circus, London

 
RIBA4047Design for a wallpaper or textile showing lilies


RIBA4048Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking north-east

 
RIBA4050Design for a 'Long Live the Queen' decoration banner for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, in the shape of a train for the side of Hungerford Bridge, London

 
RIBA4051Design for the decorations for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Piccadilly, London, showing Bond Street entrance


RIBA4052Design for an imperial palace for the sovereigns of the British Empire, imagined to be in Hyde Park, London: elevation of one of the facades

 
RIBA4053Design for an imperial palace for the sovereigns of the British Empire, imagined to be in Hyde Park, London: perspective of a triumphal entrance

 
RIBA4054Design for an arch and screen, Hyde Park Corner, London: view from the south-east


RIBA4055Design for the New headquarters of the London Electric Railway Company (later London Underground), 55 Broadway, Westminster, London: view from the north-east

 
RIBA4058Design for a multi-storey office building, 235-257 Euston Road, London

 
RIBA4059Design for Kelling Hall, Norfolk


RIBA4060Designs for Sleek Tower (left) and Verandah Tower (right), Brisbane, Queensland

 
RIBA4062Design for the restoration of the Parthenon, Athens

 
RIBA4063Design for remodelling Brownsea Castle, Brownsea Island, Dorset, for Colonel William Petrie Waugh: perspective


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