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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RIBA3904Designs for alterations and additions to existing house, Lambton Hall, County Durham: interior perspective of the dining room

 
RIBA3905Views of Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire: interior view of the staircase hall

 
RIBA3906Views of Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire: perspective from the south-east


RIBA3907Design for a triumphal arch commemorating the freedom of the seas

 
RIBA3908Design for a stage set: the Gallery of Pluto

 
RIBA3909Design for Barrells House, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire


RIBA3910Alternative designs for the Mausoleum, Blickling Hall, Blickling, in memory of the 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire: perspective from the north-west

 
RIBA3911Design for the drawing room, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland

 
RIBA3912Design for the ceiling of the drawing room, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland


RIBA3913Design for book room ceiling, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland

 
RIBA3914Design for the book room, Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland

 
RIBA3915Designs for the Church of St James, Great Packington, Warwickshire, for the 4th Earl of Aylesford: plan, west elevation and section of east end showing altar


RIBA3918Edward Hodges Baily completing the statue of Nelson for Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London, in his studio

 
RIBA3919Designs for the interior decoration of Montagu House, 22 Portman Square, Westminster, London, for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu: plan for the carpet of the Great Drawing Room

 
RIBA3920Designs for gardener's house and hot houses, Lambton Hall, County Durham: elevation of the south front of the hothouses


RIBA3922Design for the Great Drawing Room in Montagu House, 22 Portland Square, London

 
RIBA3923Design for a drawing room

 
RIBA3924Design for Leeds Grammar School


RIBA3926Design for the grotto, Oatlands Park, Surrey

 
RIBA3928Studios for Messrs. Sound City (Films) Ltd, Shepperton

 
RIBA3929Studios for Messrs. Sound City (Films) Ltd, Shepperton


RIBA3930Langham Hotel, Portland Place, London

 
RIBA3931Design for the Three per Cent Consols Office, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, City of London

 
RIBA3932Design for a monument


RIBA3937Design for stained glass windows depicting Saint Michael and Virtue for an unidentified 18th century church

 
RIBA3938Design for windows for the 'Willow Cathedral'

 
RIBA3939Design for the English School (later Bedford Modern School), Bedford


RIBA3940Design for Crom Castle (or Crum Castle), County Fermanagh: perspective of the facade overlooking the terrace and lake

 
RIBA3941Design for Goodrich Court, Herefordshire: perspective

 
RIBA3942Design for a conservatory, Beckford House, Southampton


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