UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
TheStonesofLondon’sWarMemorials
‘IfIshoulddie,thinkonlythisofme;
Thatthere’ssomecornerofaforeignfield
ThatisforeverEngland’
TheSoldier,RupertBrooke(1887-1915)
MemorialattheTowerofLondonforthecentenaryoftheoutbreakofWWI:'BloodSweptLandsandSeasofRed'by
ceramicistPaulCummins.
TheopeninglinesofRupertBrooke’sfamouspoem(above)illustratesmuchofthesentimentsassociated
withthedesignofwarmemorialsandwargraves.Ithasbecometraditional,onthemostpart,forstones
representingthesoldiers’countriesoforigintobeusedinmemorialsconstructedtocommemoratethem.
Forexample,thewarmemorialscommemoratingtheBritishForceskilledduringWWIinFranceand
Belgium,suchasThiepvalandtheMeninGate,arebuiltfrombrick,withpiers,vaults,columnsandthe
panelsbearingtheinscriptionsofnamesinPortlandStone.Aswewillseebelow,stoneshavebeen
importedfromallovertheWorldtocommemoratethesoldiersfromthosecountrieswhofoughtinthe
Europeantheatresofthefirsthalfofthe20thCentury.Indeedtherearecornersofforeignfields,orinfact
London,thatareforeverAustralian,CanadianorMaltese.
IampredominantlyfocusingonmemorialstoWWIandWWII.ManyoftheWarMemorialsandtheir
stonescataloguedbelowhavebeenpreviouslydescribedinotherUrbanGeologyinLondonGuides.These
includethememorialsinthevicinityofHydeParkCorner(Siddall&Clements,2013),ontheVictoria
Embankment(Siddall&Clements,2014)andtheMaltaMemorialneartheTowerofLondon(Siddall,2014).
Detaileddescriptionsofthesememorialsisprovidedinthesetextsandtheyaresimplylistedhere.Thewar
memorialsinUCLaredescribedinSiddalletal.(2014).Furtherinformationisalsoavailablefromthe
CommonwealthWarGravesCommissionandtheWarMemorialsTrust.
WarMemorials
Cenotaph|WhitehallSW1A
TheCenotaphonWhitehallisthefocusofBritain’sremembranceceremonies.Itwasdesignedbyarchitect
SirEdwinLutyensandcompletedin1920.Thewordmeans‘emptytomb’.ItisbuiltfromPortlandStone
andisalargelyunadornedpillar,withacarvedwreathatbothends.ReplicasoftheLondonCenotaphoccur
inAuckland,NewZealand;London,OntarioandinHongKong.OfthesecertainlytheAucklandcenotaphis
inPortlandStoneimportedfromEngland.
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
th
TheCenotaph,Whitehall;9 November2014
RAFMemorial|VictoriaEmbankment
ThisisasimplepillarinPortlandWhitbed,commemoratingairmenlostinbothWorldWars.Itwas
designedbySirReginaldBlomfieldin1923,thegildedeagleonthetopisbysculptorWilliamReidDick.
BattleofBritainMemorial|VictoriaEmbankment
Thismemorialwaserectedin2003bysculptorPaulDayandarchitectsDonaldInsallAssociates.Itrecycled
and25mlongDalbeattieGranitesuperstructuretoaair-ventwhichhadbeeninstalledwhenthe
embankmentwasconstructedinthe1860s.Anewgranite,probablyKemnayGranitefromAberdeenshire
wasusedonthetopofthemonument.
SubmarineWarMemorial|VictoriaEmbankment
Thismonumentontheembankmentwaserectedin1922,designedbyA.H.RyanTennisonwithbronze
attachmentsbyF.BrookHitch,thismemorialiscoveredinsmallbronzeanchorswhichactashooksto
whichwreathscanbeattachedonRemembranceSunday.Thismonumentprobablyutilisedtheexisting
granitealreadyinplaceontheVictoriaEmbankment.Unfortunately,theoriginofthisstoneisunknown.It
isacoarsegrainedgranitewithpinkorthoclasefeldspars,whitefeldsparandbiotite.Thereareafew
megacrysts,2-3cminlength,ofwhitefeldsparswithrimsofpinkfeldspar(Siddall&Clements,2014).
CamelCorpsMemorial|VictoriaEmbankmentGardens
TheImperialCamelCorpsBrigadeservedintheMiddleEastduringtheFirstWorldWar.Althoughinitiallya
smalloutfit,fourbattalionswereeventuallyformed,twoAustralian,aNewZealandBattallionandanother
withsoldiersfromGreatBritain,whichincludedmenfromIndia.Thismemorial,featuringabronzerider
mountedontheshipofthedesertwasmadebyasculptorwhowasalsoamemberofthecorps,Major
CecilBrown.HestandsonaplinthofPortlandStone.Themonumentwaserectedin1921.
MaltaMemorial|BywardStreet,EC3
ThissimplemonumentcommemoratestheGeorgeCrossIslandofMaltawhichunderwentsiegefrom
1940-42anddefendedtheMediterraneanforthealliedconvoys.Itisageologicalgem,beingcomposedof
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
theScutellaBedoftheLowerCorallineLimestone,quarriedonthesmallislandofGozointheMaltese
archipelago.Itispackedwithfossilsanddollarechinoids,Scutellasubrotunda(Siddall,2014).
th
TheMaltaMemorial,BywardStreet,nexttothechurchofAllHallows-by-the-Tower;9 November2014
MerchantNavyMemorial|TrinitySquareGardens,TowerHill,EC3
ThisimpressivemonumentinbronzeandPortlandStone,commemoratestheMerchantNavyandfishing
fleetswhowerelostatseasinboththefirstandsecondWorldWars.TheWWIsection,bySirEdward
Lutyenswascompletedin1928andcommemorates12,000menwhohaveagraveatsea.SirEdward
MaufedesignedtheWWIIsection,withsculpturebyCharleswheeler(inPortlandStone),commemorates
24casualties.Thiswascompletedin1955(CommonwealthWarGraves).
RoyalArtilleryMemorial|HydeParkCorner,SW1
ThismonumentfeaturesaHowitzercravedfromPortlandStoneonaplinth,withveryfinereliefcarving
andbronzesbysculptorCharlesJagger.JaggerworkedarchitectLionelPearsonandthemonumentwas
completedin1925(Siddall&Clements,2013).
MachineGunCorpsMemorial|HydeParkCorner,SW1
ThissmallmemorialstandsonthenorthernsideoftheHydeParkCornerroundaboutgarden.Thewhite
limestoneplinthissurmountedbyabronzemalenude,andrealVickersmachinegunscoatedinbronzeand
withbronzewreaths.ItwasdesignedbyFrancisDerwentWoodandcompletedin1925.Themonument
wasvilifiedbyPevsner(Bradley&Pevsner,2003)whofundittobewoefullyinappropriate.Thewhitestone
usedontheplinthcontainsabundantstylolitesandfossilfragments.Itsoriginisnotconfirmedbutitbears
astrikingsimilaritytoPietraD’Istria,aJurassicLimestonefromtheCroatiancoast.Ifso,thisisanunusual
caseofanon-BritishstonebeingusedonamonumenttocommemorateBritishForces.
AustralianWarMemorial|HydeParkCorner,SW1
Completedin2003,thewallofgreencharnockitethatistheAustralianWarMemorialwasdesignedby
TonkinZulaikhaGreerArchitectsandartistJanetLaurence.ThestoneisLagunaVerdefromJerramungupin
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
south-westernAustralia.Thisisanancientrock,2.6Ga,fromtheYilgarnCratoncontainingbluegreen
microclinefeldspar,hornblende,plagioclaseandquartz(Siddall&Clements,2013).
RAFBomberCommandMemorial|Piccadilly,SW1
AlargeneoclassicalstructurebyLiamO”ConnorhousetheRAFBomberCommandMemorialerectedin
2012.ItisbuiltofPortlandWhitbedfromJordan’sQuarry.Inside,thebronzeairmenstandonaplinthof
purpleporphyryfromtheEasternDesertofEgypt.ThisstonewasknowntotheRomansasImperial
PorphyryanditisnowmarketedsimplyasEgyptianRedPorphyry(Siddall&Clements,2013).
CanadaMemorial|GreenParkSW1
ThismemorialcommemoratesCanadianforceswhofoughtanddiedinbothWorldWars.Itismainly
constructedfrompolished,brownAnticostiGranitefromQuebec,a1Gacharnockiticgranite.Decorative
inlaysofpalebrownAppalachiangraniteareusedtomakethecompassrose(Siddall&Clements,2013).
RAFCoastalCommandMemorial|Cloister,WestminsterAbbey,SW1
Thismemorial,erectedin2004,commemoratestheairmenoftheRAFCoastalCommandSquadronswho
foughtintheBattleoftheAtlantic(WWII),whichwasatitspeakin1944.Thememorialismadefroma
lightgreyCarraramarblewhichperfectlyechoesthestormyseasandskiescarvedinreliefbyNeiland
RichardTalbot.ThegreyvarietiesofCarraramarble,showingthiscloudypatterningaremarketedas
BardiglioNuvolato.TheCarraramarbles,geologicallytheHettangianMarbles,belongtoaformationof
TriassicandJurassiclimestones,metamorphosedintheMioceneandarequarriedintheAlpiApuaneof
Tuscany.
RAFCoastalCommandMemorial,WestminsterAbbey
IntelligenceServicesMemorial|Cloister,WestminsterAbbey,SW1
ThismemorialcommemoratesallmembersoftheBritishIntelligenceServicessince1909,includingthose
whoworkedintheGovernmentCodeandCypherSchoolduringWWIIatBletchleyPark.Itisbysculptor
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
JohnMaineandwasdedicatedbytheQueenin2009.Ittakestheformofaconvexbowl,withapattern
reminiscentofthedesignofthe13thCenturyCosmatiPavementintheAbbey’sSanctuary.Itisashape
knownasaquincunx,thearrangementof5dotsondice.Thestonesusedcommemorateintelligence
workersaregranitesderivedfromEngland,NorthernIreland,ScotlandandWales.Unfortunatelytheir
originsarenotrecordedontheAbbey’swebsite.Themainbowlisofagreygneiss.IfthisisaBritishstone,
thenthemostlikelycandidateisoneofthegneissesfromtheLewisianComplexofScotland.Howeverit
maywellhavebeenderivedfromabroad.Theroundelontheleft,asonelooksatthemonument
representsEngland.Thisis300MaCornishMegacrysticGranite,probablyfromeithertheLand’sEndorSt
AustellPlutons.Thetoproundel,unfortunatelyoutofmyreach,isabluegreyporphyrywithwhitefeldspar
phenocrysts.ThisisprobablyWales’scontributionandIbelieveittobeGreyTreforPorphyry,a450Ma
graniticrockfromtheGarnforIntrusionontheLleynPeninsula.Thegraniteroundelatthebottomhas
slightlypurplishorthoclasefeldspars,whiteplagioclase,hornblendeandbiotite.Itisalmostcertainly
MourneGranitefromtheTertiaryintrusionsofCountyDown,NorthernIreland.Thismeanstheroundelon
therightisScottishGranite.Unfortunatelyitisnon-typicalbeingcutthroughbyaveinofinkgranitewhich
dominatestheroundel.Theoatmealtextureofthesurroundingbrown-greygranitesuggestthatitmightbe
fromKemnay.
JohnMaine’sIntelligenceServicesMemorialatWestminsterAbbey.Ontherightaretop;theScottishGranitecutbya
pinkorthoclase-richvein.BelowistheCornishMegacrysticGranite.
AnimalsatWarMemorial|BrookGate,ParkLane,W1
Thismemorialrecognisesalltheanimalsthathaveplayedapartinwarfromhorsesandcamelstopigeons
andeventheglow-wormsthatprovidedlightinthetrenches.Itdepictswar-wearyanimalswalkingthrough
agatewayinawallofPortlandStonetofreedomandanopenfieldbeyond.ThesculptorwasDavid
Backhouse.ThemonumentwasunveiledinNovember2004.
ConscientiousObjectors’Memorial|TavistockSquareGardens,WC1H
Arough-hewnblockofLakeDistrictGreenSlatesitsintheNWcornerofTavistockSquareGardens.This
monumentcommemoratesthestrugglesofconscientiousobjectorstoasserttheircommitmentnottobe
involvedintheviolenceofwar.Itwaserectedin1994anddesignedbyarchitectHughCourt.Thisstoneis
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
fromtheOrdovicianvolcanicrocksofCumbria,pyroclasticdepositsaccumulatedinalakeandthus
developingthestrikingsedimentarystructureswhichhaveearnedthemthename‘ornamentalslates’.
MemorialstoIndividuals
EdithCavellMemorial|StMartin’sPlace,
WC2
EdithCavellwasaBritishRedCrossnurse
workinginBrussels,whofoundherself
behindenemylineswhenGermanyinvaded
Belgiumin1914.Shewaschargedwith
helpingalliedsoldierstoescapeand
executedbytheGermanson12thOctober
1915.HermonumentisbySirGeorge
Framptonandwascompletedin1920.The
statueofEdithCavellisinwhiteCarrara
Statuariomarble,whilstthepillarbehind
herisinCornishDeLankGranite(right).
NoorInayatKhan|GordonSquare
Gardens,WC1E
ThemonumenttoWWIIResistancefighter,
NoorInayatKhanisdescribedinSiddallet
al.(2013)Noorwasaradiooperatorfor
SpecialOperations,workinginFrance.
Howevershewasbetrayedandexecutedby
theGermansinSeptember1944.Her
memorialhasabronzebustbyKaren
Newman(2012)whichsitsuponaplinthof
LakeDistrictGreenSlate.
ChelseaWarMemorial|SloaneSquareSW1
TheWarMemorialstandsattheeasternendoftheSquareandcommemoratesthemenandwomenof
ChelseawhodiedintheFirstandSecondWorldWars.Thestyleofthememorialisa‘crossofsacrifice’,a
muchrepeatedformdesignedtobereproducedinarangeofsizesbySirReginaldBlomfieldin1918.
Characteristicallyabronzelongswordisattachedtooneside.Thisstyleofmemorialisfoundinmostlarge
warcemeteriesandisusedfortownmemorialsintheUK,CommonwealthandtheUnitedStates.Like
manyofitsbrethren,thiscrossanditsplinthisconstructedfromPortlandWhitbed.
References&FurtherReading
AnimalsatWarMemorial:http://www.animalsinwar.org.uk
Bradley,S.&Pevsner,N.,2003,TheBuildingsofEngland:London6:Westminster.YaleUniversityPress.,872pp.
CommonwealthWarGravesCommission:http://bit.ly/1yj8kdi
MIA,2011,MarbleInstituteofAmerica;GlossaryofStoneIndustryTerms;https://www.marbleinstitute.com/consumers/glossary.pdf
Price,M.T.,2007,DecorativeStone:TheCompleteSourcebook.ThamesandHudson,288pp.
Siddall,R,2014,SpitfiresandSand-Dollars:TheMemorialtotheSiegeofMalta,BywardStreetEC3;Urban
GeologyinLondonNo.19,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/MaltaMemorial.pdf
©RuthSiddall;UCL,November2014
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UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23
Siddall,R.&Clements,D.,2013,TheWarMemorialsatHydeParkCornerandGreenPark.UrbanGeologyin
LondonNo.4,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/HydeParkCorner.pdf
Siddall,R.&Clements,D.,2014,Neverinthefieldofurbangeologyhavesomanygranitesbeenlookedatbyso
few!AstrollalongtheVictoriaEmbankmentfromCharingCrosstoWestminster&BlackfriarsBridge.,Urban
GeologyinLondonNo.21,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/Embankment.pdf
Siddall,R.,Kirk,W.&Robinson,E.,2014,TheUrbanGeologyofUCLandtheUniversityofLondon;urbanGeology
inLondonNo.1,20pp.,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/UCL&UoL.pdf
WarMemorialsTrust:http://www.warmemorials.org|https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk
WestminsterAbbey:RAFCoastalCommandhttp://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/rafcoastal-command
WestminsterAbbey:IntelligenceServices:http://www.westminster-abbey.org/our-history/people/intelligenceservices-mi5,gchq,sis
TheRoyalArtilleryMemorialatHydeParkCorner
Howtocitethisarticle:
Siddall,R,2014,TheStonesofLondon’sWarMemorials;UrbanGeologyinLondonNo.23,
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/walks/WarMemorials.pdf
©DrRuthSiddall,UniversityCollegeLondon,GowerStreet,LondonWC1E6BT,UK:[email protected]
Downloadsfromhttp://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucfbrxs/Homepage/UrbanGeology.htm;
Facebook|Cultural&UrbanGeology|Twitter:@R_Siddall|#UrbanGeology
©RuthSiddall;UCL,November2014,revisedDecember2015.
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The Stones of London’s War Memorials