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.

 

108584 items
RIBA4132Design for a wallpaper or textile entitled 'I love little pussy, her coat'

 
RIBA4135Deepdene, Dorking, Surrey: approach to the entrance

 
RIBA4136Two designs for semi-detached houses for Romford District Council, one for Osborne Road, Romford, London


RIBA4137Crystal Palace and its grounds at Sydenham, London

 
RIBA4139Arch of Hadrian, Athens, with the ruins of the Temples of Zeus Olympus in the background

 
RIBA4141Conjectural reconstruction of the Temple of Diana, Ephesus


RIBA4146Competition design for a Canadian house

 
RIBA4147Design for the Tabernacle Church of Christ, Columbus, Indiana

 
RIBA4148Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: the bronze balustrades above the main entrance


RIBA4149Darwin Building, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, seen from the north-east

 
RIBA4150The Land of Britain aluminium cone entrance, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London

 
RIBA4151The Land of Britain Pavilion, Festival of Britain, South Bank, London: close-up of aluminium cone entrance


RIBA4152Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the garden elevation

 
RIBA4153Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the entrance courtyard

 
RIBA4154Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the garden front


RIBA4155Harbour Meadow, Birdham, Sussex: the dining room

 
RIBA4157Extension to Mayfield Comprehensive School, Putney, London

 
RIBA4158Sir Denys Lasdun


RIBA4159Sir Denys Lasdun

 
RIBA4160Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois

 
RIBA4161Lunching around one of the 25ft dials of the clock for the Royal Liver Building, Pier Head, Liverpool


RIBA4162Battersea 'A' Power Station, London

 
RIBA4166House for Edward James, 35 Wimpole Street, London: bathroom for his wife, Tilly Losch, designed by Paul Nash

 
RIBA4167Midland Hotel, Morecambe, Lancashire


RIBA4168Housing, Stevenage, Hertfordshire

 
RIBA4169Housing at Lincoln Way, Corby New Town, Northamptonshire

 
RIBA4170Housing, Woodhead Court, Westfield, Cumbernauld New Town


RIBA4171Sir Thomas White Building, St John's College, Oxford

 
RIBA4172Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, Devon

 
RIBA4173Hodek Apartment Building, Prague