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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RIBA3870Clare Hall, Herschel Road, Cambridge: a residential courtyard

 
RIBA3871John Donat

 
RIBA3872Wall of Audley End Park, Saffron Walden, Essex


RIBA3873Sir Giles Gilbert Scott

 
RIBA3874Ulm Cathedral

 
RIBA3875Dome of the Rock,Temple Mount, Jerusalem


RIBA3876Queen's House, Greenwich, London: the north front

 
RIBA3877Design for the elevation of a wall with Zenana in the Arab Hall, Leighton House, 12 Holland Park Road, London

 
RIBA3878Design for a pleasure beach


RIBA3879Hammersmith Town Hall, Cromwell Road extension, London

 
RIBA3880Design for a stage set or a vast hall with a throne

 
RIBA3881Preliminary design for a villa near Hampton Court Palace, London


RIBA3883Design for a double chaise-longue

 
RIBA3884Design for a garden: plan I

 
RIBA3885Competition designs for decorations for the Coronation of King George VI, Bond Street, London: perspective of view at night showing lighting from below


RIBA3886Design for the interior of St George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, London

 
RIBA3887Design for the principal facade of the Bathing Pavilion, Hotel de Brancas, Paris

 
RIBA3888Design for a stage set showing a hall in a Baroque palace with superimposed colonnades


RIBA3889Saint Mark's Square, Venice

 
RIBA3890Designs for Corehouse, Lanarkshire: interior perspective of the grand staircase

 
RIBA3893Design for the Pagoda, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London


RIBA3894Elevation of one wall of Madame Recamier's bathroom, Hotel Recamier, Paris

 
RIBA3895Elevation of one wall of Madame Recamier's bedroom, Hotel Recamier, Paris

 
RIBA3896Design for an Egyptian style room


RIBA3897Design for St David's (Ramshorn) Kirk, 98 Ingram Street, Glasgow

 
RIBA3898Unexecuted competition designs for the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: perspective of the principal front (design A for a Classical building using a Corinthian order)

 
RIBA3899Unexecuted competition designs for the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge: perspective of the front elevation (design B for a building in a Decorated Gothic style)


RIBA3900Competition design for the Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London: view of the facade from the River Thames

 
RIBA3901Unexecuted competition design for the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

 
RIBA3902Design for a monument to Richard Gwillym


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