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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105521 items
RIBA3794Temple of Athena Nike, Acropolis, Athens: one of the two Ionic colonnaded porticos

 
RIBA3795Schimek House, Berlin

 
RIBA3796House at 14 Neville Drive, London: the garden front


RIBA3797Pine House, Churt, Surrey: the music room

 
RIBA3799Manchester Town Hall

 
RIBA3800Kumbha Shyama Temple (or Temple of Vriji), Chittorgarh


RIBA3801Adinatha Temple, Ranakpur

 
RIBA3802Adinatha Temple, Ranakpur

 
RIBA3803Old palace, Meherangarh Fort, Jodhpur


RIBA3804Hall of Prayers for a Good Harvest, Temple of Heaven, Beijing

 
RIBA3806Hornsey Town Hall, Crouch End, London

 
RIBA3807Casa del Fascio, Piazza del Popolo, Como


RIBA3808San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

 
RIBA3810Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: children's playground

 
RIBA3811Churchill Gardens Estate, Pimlico, London: Chaucer House and the heat-accumulator seen from across the Thames


RIBA3812Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte

 
RIBA3813Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte: the south front with parterres

 
RIBA3814Atomium, 1958 World's Fair, Brussels


RIBA3815Atomium, 1958 World's Fair, Brussels

 
RIBA3816Ruins of St Andrew, Covehithe, Suffolk

 
RIBA3817Columbia printing press at the Southwold Press


RIBA3818Gloucester Cathedral: the triforium and arcade of the nave seen from the chancel

 
RIBA3819Clandon Park, West Clandon, Surrey: the garden front

 
RIBA3821St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, seen from a nearby bombsite


RIBA3823Study with desk, chair, fitted bookcases and curtains, Berlin

 
RIBA3824Municipal offices, Earl Street, Coventry

 
RIBA3825Bodiam Castle, East Sussex


RIBA3826Victoria Assize Courts, Birmingham

 
RIBA3827Victoria Assize Courts, Birmingham

 
RIBA3828Boots head office (the D90 West building), Beeston, Nottinghamshire


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