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.

 

108601 items
RIBA4064Design for the staircase of the chapel-library wing, Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire

 
RIBA4065Design for the extension of the east end of the Church of St Bartholomew, Brighton

 
RIBA4066Competition design for the South Kensington Museum, London: view from the south-west


RIBA4067Design for new Senate Houses in St James's Park, London

 
RIBA4069Design for a wallpaper frieze entitled 'Seagull'

 
RIBA4070Design for an imperial palace for sovereigns of the British Empire: perspective of one of the courtyards


RIBA4073Design for a library bookcase, Knightshayes Court, near Tiverton, Devon

 
RIBA4074Design for the Bishop's throne, Cathedral Church of Saint Finn Barr, Cork

 
RIBA4076View from the cottage of Humphry Repton at Hare Street, Essex, before proposed alterations


RIBA4077Competition design for the Rathaus, Hamburg

 
RIBA4078Designs for the New Bodleian Library, Oxford: perspective from Trinity College gardens

 
RIBA4079Designs for Oakhurst, Ropes Lane, Fernhurst, West Sussex, for Mrs E. F. Chester: perspective from the north-west


RIBA4080Designs for Dixcot, North Drive, Tooting Bec Common, London, for R. W. Essex: perspective of entrance front

 
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

 
RIBA4082Design for a wallpaper entitled 'Bushey' produced by Essex and Company


RIBA4083Design for a wallpaper frieze entitled 'Shallop' showing shallops (boats), birds and islands

 
RIBA4084Design for a wallpaper and tapestry produced by Essex and Company to honour Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897

 
RIBA4085Design, prossibly for a wallpaper, showing stylized oak leaves and acorns


RIBA4086Design for a wallpaper and textile showing a bird among leaves, flowers and berries

 
RIBA4087Design for the 'River Rug'

 
RIBA4088Edwin Smith and Olive Cook


RIBA4089Olive Cook

 
RIBA4090Edwin Smith

 
RIBA4091Edwin Smith


RIBA4092Edwin Smith

 
RIBA4094Edwin Smith and Olive Cook in the garden, 9A Church Row, Hampstead, London

 
RIBA4095Preliminary design for Crooksbury House, near Farnham, Surrey


RIBA4096Unexecuted designs for a country house on the Hudson River, New York State, for Mr E. H. Harriman: perspective sketch of entrance front

 
RIBA4097Design for the dining room sideboard, Munstead Wood, Godalming

 
RIBA4098Unexecuted design for the Grand Foyer, International Music Hall and Opera House, Hyde Park, London