Manchester Cenotaph

Last updated

The Cenotaph
United Kingdom
MC-View from Town Hall-3.jpg
Manchester Cenotaph in 2017, in its new location near the town hall; looking south
For casualties of the First World War (modified to include the Second World War and the Korean War)
Unveiled12 July 1924;95 years ago (1924-07-12)
Location 53°28′43″N2°14′34″W / 53.4787°N 2.2429°W / 53.4787; -2.2429 Coordinates: 53°28′43″N2°14′34″W / 53.4787°N 2.2429°W / 53.4787; -2.2429
Designed by Edwin Lutyens
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official nameManchester War Memorial
Designated3 September 1974
Reference no. 1270697

Manchester Cenotaph is a war memorial in St Peter's Square, Manchester, England. Manchester was late in commissioning a First World War memorial compared with most British towns and cities; the city council did not convene a war memorial committee until 1922. The committee quickly achieved its target of raising £10,000 but finding a suitable location for the monument proved controversial. The preferred site in Albert Square would have required the removal and relocation of other statues and monuments, and was opposed by the city's artistic bodies. The next choice was Piccadilly Gardens, an area already identified for a possible art gallery and library; but in the interests of speedier delivery, the memorial committee settled on St Peter's Square. The area within the square had been had been purchased by the City Council in 1906, having been the site of the former St Peter's Church; whose sealed burial crypts remained with burials untouched and marked above ground by a memorial stone cross. Negotiations to remove these stalled so the construction of the cenotaph proceeded with the cross and burials in situ.

War memorial Type of memorial

A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in a war.

St Peters Square, Manchester

St Peter's Square is a public square in Manchester city centre, England. The north of the square is bounded by Princess Street and the south by Peter Street. To the west of the square is Manchester Central Library, Midland Hotel and Manchester Town Hall Extension. The square is home to the Manchester Cenotaph, the Emmeline Pankhurst statue, and St Peter's Square Metrolink tram stop and incorporates the Peace Garden. In 1819, the area around the square was the site of the Peterloo Massacre.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. With a population of 545,500 (2017) it is the sixth largest city in the United Kingdom. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.


Having picked a site, it was originally proposed to choose an architect by open competition, but the memorial committee was criticised in the local press when it reserved the right to overrule the judgement of the independent assessor. A sub-committee therefore approached Sir Edwin Lutyens directly, who produced, in a matter of weeks, a variation of his design for the Cenotaph in London. The memorial consists of a central cenotaph and a Stone of Remembrance flanked by twin obelisks, all features characteristic of Lutyens' works. Raised steps either side of the Stone of Remembrance provided east-facing tribunes for the colour party in memorial parades. The cenotaph is topped by an effigy of a fallen soldier and decorated with relief carvings of the imperial crown, Manchester's coat of arms and inscriptions commemorating the dead. The structures, based on classical architecture, use abstract, ecumenical shapes rather than overt religious symbolism. In submitting the design, Lutyens stated that he envisaged the crypts and cross as remaining in place; as the cenotaph could stand on the foundations of the former church tower and the cross would serve to "consecrate the site", while there would be no explicit religious symbolism on the cenotaph itself.

Cenotaph "empty tomb" or monument erected in honor of a person whose remains are elsewhere

A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.

Stone of Remembrance

The Stone of Remembrance was designed by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC). It was designed to commemorate the dead of World War I, to be used in IWGC war cemeteries containing 1000 or more graves, or at memorial sites commemorating more than 1000 war dead. Hundreds were erected following World War I, and it has since been used in cemeteries containing the Commonwealth dead of World War II as well. It is intended to commemorate those "of all faiths and none", and has been described as one of Lutyens' "most important and powerful works", with a "brooding, sentinel-like presence wherever used".

An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion at the top. These were originally called tekhenu by their builders, the Ancient Egyptians. The Greeks who saw them used the Greek term 'obeliskos' to describe them, and this word passed into Latin and ultimately English. Ancient obelisks are monolithic; that is, they consist of a single stone. Most modern obelisks are made of several stones.

The memorial was unveiled on 12 July 1924 by the Earl of Derby, assisted by Mrs Bingle, a local resident whose three sons had died in the war. It cost £6,940 and the remaining funds were used to provide hospital beds.

Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby British politician

Edward George Villiers Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby,, styled Mr Edward Stanley until 1886, then The Hon Edward Stanley and then Lord Stanley from 1893 to 1908, was a British soldier, Conservative politician, diplomat, and racehorse owner. He was twice Secretary of State for War and also served as British Ambassador to France.

The Cenotaph on its present site; looking northwest Manchester Cenotaph with Town Hall.jpg
The Cenotaph on its present site; looking northwest

In 2014, Manchester City Council dismantled the memorial and reconstructed it at the northeast corner of St Peter's Square next to Manchester Town Hall to make room for the expanded Metrolink tram network. It is a grade II* listed structure and in 2015, Historic England recognised Manchester Cenotaph as part of a national collection of Lutyens' war memorials.

Manchester Town Hall municipal building in Manchester, England

Manchester Town Hall is a Victorian, Neo-gothic municipal building in Manchester, England. It is the ceremonial headquarters of Manchester City Council and houses a number of local government departments. The building faces Albert Square to the north and St Peter's Square to the south, with Manchester Cenotaph facing its southern entrance.

Manchester Metrolink light rail and tram system in Greater Manchester, England

Metrolink is a tram/light rail system in Greater Manchester, England. The network has 93 stops along 62 miles (100 km) of standard-gauge track, making it the most extensive light rail system in the United Kingdom. Metrolink is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and operated and maintained under contract by a Keolis/Amey consortium. In 2018/19, 43.7 million passenger journeys were made on the system.

Listed building Protected historic structure in the United Kingdom

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, Cadw in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in Northern Ireland.


In the aftermath of the First World War and its unprecedented casualties, thousands of war memorials were built across Britain. Virtually every village, town, or city erected some form of memorial to commemorate their dead. During the war, only London provided more recruits to the British Army than Manchester. The Manchester Regiment and the Lancashire Fusiliers, which largely recruited from the city and towns to the north, were swollen by pals battalions drawn from local employers, social groups, and neighbourhoods. [1] By the end of the war, over 13,000 men of the Manchester Regiment, including more than 4,000 from the pals battalions and 13,600 Lancashire Fusiliers, had been killed. An estimated 22,000 Mancunians died and 55,000 were wounded. [2]

Manchester Regiment

The Manchester Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1958. The regiment was created during the 1881 Childers Reforms by the amalgamation of the 63rd Regiment of Foot and the 96th Regiment of Foot as the 1st and 2nd battalions; the 6th Royal Lancashire Militia became the 3rd (Reserve) and 4th battalions and the Volunteer battalions became the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th battalions.

Lancashire Fusiliers line infantry regiment of the British Army

The Lancashire Fusiliers was a line infantry regiment of the British Army that saw distinguished service through many years and wars, including the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II, and had many different titles throughout its 280 years of existence. In 1968 the regiment was amalgamated with the other regiments of the Fusilier Brigade–the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers and the Royal Fusiliers –to form the current Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Pals battalion

The Pals battalions of World War I were specially constituted battalions of the British Army comprising men who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and colleagues ("pals"), rather than being arbitrarily allocated to battalions.


The Rochdale Cenotaph, also by Lutyens, with the tower of Rochdale Town Hall in the background Town Hall and Cenotaph, Rochdale.jpg
The Rochdale Cenotaph, also by Lutyens, with the tower of Rochdale Town Hall in the background

Many towns and cities began to erect war memorials after the armistice, but Manchester did not get underway until 1922. As a result of pressure from the local branch of the Royal British Legion, the city council convened a war memorial committee of 12 persons, chaired by the mayor and consisting of "Aldermen and Councillors [and] representative men connected with different aspects of Manchester business, with the military forces and other sections of Manchester life", to explore options for commemoration. [3] The committee limited the budget to £10,000 and very rapidly raised this sum; donors being assured that local firms would benefit from the construction and resulting employment. [4] Nonetheless, the letters pages of local newspapers featured several missives from ex-servicemen who felt that the cenotaph was a waste of money and that the funds would be better spent on the survivors and war widows, many of whom faced extreme hardship as a result of high levels of unemployment in the aftermath of the war. [5] For a civic memorial to the Great War, £10,000 was relatively modest sum; the counterpart public appeal in Rochdale had raised nearly £30,000, and the resulting Rochdale Cenotaph, then just completed, had cost £12,611. The proprietor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper, Edward Hulton, offered to cover the entire cost of the Manchester memorial, but the committee declined, feeling that the funding should come from the people and city of Manchester. Subsequently, the committee resisted all suggestions that the memorial budget might be increased, or that the list of donors might be extended. Constitutionally, the memorial committee was a committee of the City Council, but acted throughout as having independent discretion and funds.

Armistice of 11 November 1918 armistice during First World War between Allies and Germany

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also known as the Armistice of Compiègne from the place where it was signed at 5:45 a.m. by the French Marshal Foch, it came into force at 11:00 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany, although not formally a surrender.

Rochdale town in Greater Manchester, England

Rochdale is a town in Greater Manchester, England, at the foothills of the South Pennines on the River Roch, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) northwest of Oldham and 9.8 miles (15.8 km) northeast of Manchester. It is the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, which had a population of 211,699 in 2011.

Rochdale Cenotaph war memorial in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Rochdale Cenotaph is a First World War memorial on the Esplanade in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in the north west of England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is one of seven memorials in England based on his Cenotaph on Whitehall in London and one of his more ambitious designs. The memorial was unveiled in 1922 and consists of a raised platform bearing Lutyens' characteristic Stone of Remembrance next to a 10-metre (33 ft) pylon topped by an effigy of a recumbent soldier. A set of painted stone flags surrounds the pylon.

Three potential sites were considered for the memorial: Albert Square, Piccadilly Gardens and St Peter's Square; St Ann's Square being ruled out as already containing the civic monument to the Boer War. With the support of the Royal British Legion, Albert Square emerged as the favourite. The site proved controversial as the Manchester Society of Architects and Manchester Art Foundation led objections to the removal and relocation of statues in the square, which would have been required to create a suitable space for the war memorial. King George V had consented to the relocation of the memorial to his German grandfather, Prince Albert, but objections persisted and the city architect estimated the cost of relocating the statues at £8,400. The City Council rejected Albert Square in March 1923, and voted by 71 votes to 30 in favour of Piccadilly Gardens as the site for the monument. The City was already considering building an art gallery at Piccadilly on the space left after the old Manchester Royal Infirmary had been demolished, albeit that this was currently filled by temporary huts housing the books from Manchester Central Library. Siting the memorial on this land was welcomed by the Art Gallery Committee, who proceeded to commission designs for a memorial in the form of a 'Hall of Memory'; but would be contingent on also funding a new library. [4] As nothing was yet decided on these wider schemes, any plans for the area would have delayed the war memorial project further and so in May 1923 the memorial committee, acting on its own initiative, disregarded the vote of the Council and switched attention to St Peter's Square. [6] [7] [8] The square was itself a controversial choice; both because it was then much the smallest of the three options, and also due to its being the location of the former St Peter's church, demolished in 1907. The statutory trustees appointed to administer the funds paid over by the city council for the deconsecrated site of the church had been required by the Manchester Churches Act of 1906 to erect and maintain a memorial cross on the site, as well as to protect the bodies of the dead still interred in vaults underneath; and they objected to the removal of both. The dispute was only partially resolved, as although the trustees consented to the construction of the cenotaph they refused to allow the removal of the cross while the burials remained in place. Accordingly, discussions proceeded with the Manchester diocese on the basis that the burials would need to be removed individually and reburied on separate plots in one of the City cemeteries; the cross being relocated to the grounds of Manchester Cathedral. But this would add considerable time and cost to the memorial project.

Lutyens' Whitehall cenotaph in London UK-2014-London-The Cenotaph.jpg
Lutyens' Whitehall cenotaph in London

More controversy surrounded the choice of architect. The Manchester Art Federation and other bodies petitioned the city council to hold an open competition, to which the Council agreed. The war memorial committee appointed Percy Worthington, a local architect, as the assessor for the competition but attracted severe criticism in the local press when it reserved to itself the right to veto Worthington's choice. After further debate, a subcommittee approached Sir Edwin Lutyens, [9] and the competition collapsed. Conveniently, Lutyens assured the committee in August 1923 that his design could accommodate the cross and crypts remaining in place, while clearly distinct; and so this whole issue was deferred until after the cenotaph had been completed and dedicated.


Lutyens, described by Historic England as "the leading English architect of his generation", was amongst the most prominent designers of war memorials in Britain. [10] Before the war, he had established his reputation designing country houses for wealthy patrons but the war had a profound effect on him and from 1917 onwards he dedicated much of his time to memorialising the casualties. The Stone of Remembrance that he designed in 1917 appears in all large Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) cemeteries and in several of his civic memorials, including Manchester's. [10] His cenotaph on Whitehall in London became the focus for national Remembrance Sunday commemorations and one of the most influential designs for war memorials in Britain. Manchester's cenotaph, a close replica, is one of seven in England based on it. [10] [11]

Lutyens designed the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, the largest British war memorial in the world, for the IWGC in 1928. [12] Around the same time he designed his only other commission in Manchester, the Midland Bank at 100 King Street. [13]


Manchester's war memorial is a cenotaph, flanked by twin obelisks, and a Stone of Remembrance, all in Portland stone on a raised coved platform. [10] [14] The memorial covers an area of approximately 93 feet (28 metres) by 53 feet (16 metres). [7] The cenotaph is 32 feet (9.8 metres) high made from 160 long tons (160,000 kilograms) of Portland stone. The pylon is surmounted by a sculpture of an unknown soldier, partially covered by his greatcoat, lying on a catafalque. The pylon rises from the base in diminishing stages, narrowing as it rises. Below the catafalque, on the front and rear, are moulded swords and imperial crowns, and to the sides are Manchester's coat of arms surrounded by laurel wreaths. The cenotaph bears inscriptions below the coat of arms: "TO THE HONOURED MEMORY OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY" (on the north-west side) and "O LORD GOD OF OUR FATHERS KEEP THIS/FOREVER IN THE IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF THE HEART OF THY PEOPLE" (on the south east). [7] [10] [15] [16] Identical, 23-foot (7-metre) high obelisks stand either side of the cenotaph [17] [18] and the Stone of Remembrance is set in front. The stone, a monolith in the shape of an altar, is 12 feet (3.7 metres) long and subtly, aesthetically curved; it is devoid of decoration and inscribed, "THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE". [19] [20]

Lutyens' design, with flanking objects, recumbent figure and a Stone of Remembrance set in front of the cenotaph, is reminiscent of his earlier cenotaph in Southampton. While other First World War memorials feature sculpture or overt religious symbolism, Manchester's, like many of his memorials, uses abstract and ecumenical shapes inspired by classical architecture. Its effigy of the unknown soldier raised high on the pylon rather than at eye level is reminiscent of ancient tower tombs. The sculpture's position high above eye level gives the soldier anonymity, complementing the abstract shapes of the structures and allowing an onlooker to project an image of their own choosing onto it, [21] [22] [23] [24] and distances the viewer from the fact of the death and focuses on an idealised sense of self-sacrifice. [25]

The Pevsner City Guide to Manchester described the cenotaph as one of the few impressive war memorials in Manchester but, in its original site at western end of St Peter's Square, lamented its cluttered setting and proximity to the overhead powerlines of the Metrolink tram system. [16] The cenotaph, obelisks, and stone are features typical of Lutyens' war memorial work, although Manchester's is one of only two with flanking obelisks—Northampton's has a similar pair of obelisks flanking a Stone of Remembrance. [7] [17] [26] [27]


Temple Moore's memorial cross to the former St Peter's Church, which occupied the site intended for the war memorial, surrounded by the post-WWII garden of remembrance War memorial at St Peter's Square, Manchester (2).JPG
Temple Moore's memorial cross to the former St Peter's Church, which occupied the site intended for the war memorial, surrounded by the post-WWII garden of remembrance
The cenotaph in its post-1992 "cluttered" location; in the foreground is the cross marking the site of the former St Peter's Church and in the background the Midland Hotel. Power lines and platforms for the Metrolink tram system are visible beyond the garden of remembrance. Manchester cenotaph 1.jpg
The cenotaph in its post-1992 "cluttered" location; in the foreground is the cross marking the site of the former St Peter's Church and in the background the Midland Hotel. Power lines and platforms for the Metrolink tram system are visible beyond the garden of remembrance.


St Peter's Square already housed a memorial cross by Temple Moore marking the location of the former St Peter's Church, which had been demolished in 1907. The statutory trustees had agreed with the British Legion in recommending Albert Square as the memorial site; nevertheless the Bishop of Manchester, ex-officio chairman of the trustees, had subsequently indicated approval to relocating the cross and burials from St Peters Square, should this be needed to accommodate the war memorial. A full meeting of the trustees did not, however, endorse him in this. Lutyens provisionally resolved the stand-off by stating that he was happy for the cross to be retained; and the issue was adjourned until after the cenotaph had been erected. [6] [16] [28] Nevertheless, the impracticality of having a cross obscuring the view of the cenotaph for spectators became apparent at the dedication ceremony, and negotiations about relocating cross and burials recommenced; but the trustees remained reluctant and after further discussion Lutyens said he did not object to their remaining. [4] According to Tim Skelton, author of Lutyens and the Great War (2008), "the heated discussions resulted in a compromise that clearly show[ed]" as Moore's cross "severely impinged on the setting of the memorial and appear[ed] to be an integral part of it". [28]

Despite the war memorial committee's promise that local labour would be used, the monument was built by Nine Elms Stone Masonry Works of London, resulting in a sense of betrayal in the local community. [5] Having cost £6,940, it was unveiled on 12 July 1924 by Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby. Derby's family had been involved in politics for generations, and he had held various public offices during the war including Secretary of State for War. He was assisted by Mrs Bingle, a local woman from Rylance Street, Ancoats, who lost three sons in the war. Two years earlier, Lord Derby had unveiled Lutyens' Rochdale Cenotaph, 10 miles (16 km) away. [3] [10] [29] [30] Mrs Bingle represented "the mothers and wives of Manchester who had made sacrifices greater than life itself". She wore the eight medals awarded to her sons: Sergeant Ernest Bingle aged 34 and Gunner Charles Bingle aged 27 of the Royal Garrison Artillery, and Corporal Nelson Bingle aged 21 of the Royal Engineers. All were killed in 1918—Nelson in March and Ernest and Charles in May. [31]

The unveiling ceremony at Manchester took place in front of a large crowd and a guard of honour from the Manchester Regiment and ex-servicemen. The service was led by the Dean of Manchester, the Very Reverend Gough McCormick, and the Baptist minister Reverend John Edward Roberts of Union Chapel on Oxford Road. Several dignitaries gave speeches including the lord mayor and Lord Derby, who remarked that the memorial was not only a tribute to the dead but a warning as to the cost of war. After the unveiling, a procession of women laid flowers around the base of the memorial. [32] [31] The remainder of the £10,000 raised by the war memorial committee was used to provide hospital beds for ex-servicemen and their families. [28] The controversies that arose during the memorial's gestation largely disappeared after its unveiling; the Manchester City News praised the design for its "simplicity of forms and rhythmic beauty of proportion". [5]

A marble plaque, added nearby and dedicated to "OUR ITALIAN COMRADES 1915–1918", was removed during the Second World War. In 1949, the dates for World War II were added as inscriptions on the obelisks, and the surrounding area was laid out as a garden of remembrance designed by the city architect, L. C. Howitt. [16] The steps and lawns of the garden of remembrance provided space for the Italian memorial plaque to be restored; and over subsequent years, further plaques were added later to commemorate the dead of the Korean War and other later conflicts. [10] [29] Nevertheless, by enclosing cross and cenotaph within a single space, the post-WWII memorial complex conflicted with Lutyens's intention that the cenotaph should be free of explicit religious associations.


The suitability of St Peter's Square re-emerged in 1925 during discussions about the proposed art gallery and consideration was given to moving the cenotaph to Piccadilly. [4] Over the following century the square itself changed radically. In 1924 the square was small and, apart from the Midland Hotel most of the surrounding buildings were no more than four stories high; but then an entire block on the north side was cleared in the 1930s for the construction behind it of the Manchester Central Library; and then further blocks to the northeast were cleared in 1980 to open the square to the Manchester Town Hall Extension and the Collier Street facade of Manchester Town Hall. From 1992 St Peter's Square became the location of one of the main city centre stops for Manchester's Metrolink tram system; such that stanchions and overhead power lines increasingly intruded on the cenotaph, and platforms abutted directly onto the low wall around the post-WWII garden of remembrance. In March 2011, Manchester City Council began a public consultation on moving the cenotaph to an alternative site (within the 1980 extension of the square), to allow for further expansion of the tram network. The plans had a mixed reception. Some objections were made by the public but there was support from veterans, church, and heritage groups. The relocation was approved in 2012, and in January 2014 the cenotaph was dismantled before it was cleaned and restored. The burial crypts were to remain beneath the new tram-lines, and so were provided with a concrete lid, while the memorial cross, also cleaned and restored, was returned to its original position above the crypts. In 2014 the cenotaph was reconstructed in a new memorial garden on the opposite side of the square aligned with Manchester Town Hall's southern entrance. The city council commissioned conservation architects Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture to manage the relocation and design the new setting which places the cenotaph, obelisks and stone on a plinth in an oval surrounded by a low wall. [33] The garden opened to the public in September 2014. The cenotaph was damaged in the first week when skateboarders began using the area as a skatepark. Repair work costing £4,000 started shortly afterwards, and extra security measures (including 24-hour CCTV) were put in place. [34] [35] [36] [37]

The cenotaph was designated a grade II listed structure on 12 February 1985. [10] Listed status provides legal protection from demolition or modification; grade II is applied to about 92% of listed buildings of "special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them". It was upgraded in 1994 to grade II*, which is reserved for "particularly important buildings of more than special interest" and applies to about 5.5% of listed buildings. In November 2015, as part of commemorations for the centenary of the First World War, Manchester Cenotaph was recognised as part of the "national collection" of Lutyens' war memorials. [38] [39]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Cenotaph war memorial located in Whitehall, London, England

The Cenotaph is a war memorial on Whitehall in London, England. Its origin is in a temporary structure erected for a peace parade following the end of the First World War, and after an outpouring of national sentiment it was replaced in 1920 by a permanent structure and designated the United Kingdom's official national war memorial.

Southampton Cenotaph War memorial in Southampton, England

Southampton Cenotaph is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in Watts Park in Southampton, southern England. The memorial was the first of dozens by Lutyens to be built in permanent form and it influenced his later designs, including The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. It is a tapering, multi-tiered pylon which culminates in a series of diminishing layers before terminating in a sarcophagus which features a recumbent figure of a soldier. In front is an altar-like Stone of Remembrance. The cenotaph contains multiple sculptural details including a prominent cross, the town's coat of arms, and two lions. The names of the dead are inscribed on three sides. Although similar in outline, Lutyens' later cenotaphs were much more austere and featured almost no sculpture. The design uses abstract, ecumenical features and lifts the recumbent soldier high above eye level, anonymising him.

Arch of Remembrance war memorial in Leicester, Leicestershire, England

The Arch of Remembrance is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in Victoria Park, Leicester, in the East Midlands of England. Leicester's industry contributed significantly to the British war effort. A temporary war memorial was erected in 1917 and a committee was formed in 1919 to propose a permanent memorial. The committee resolved to appoint Lutyens as architect and to site the memorial in Victoria Park. Lutyens' first proposal was accepted by the committee but was scaled back and eventually cancelled due to a shortage of funds. The committee then asked Lutyens to design a memorial arch, which he presented to a public meeting in 1923.

South African War Memorial, Richmond Cemetery war memorial to South African soldiers

The South African War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Richmond Cemetery in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is in the form of a cenotaph, similar to that on Whitehall, also by Lutyens. It was commissioned by the South African Hospital and Comforts Fund Committee to commemorate the 39 South African soldiers who died of their wounds at a military hospital in Richmond Park during the First World War. The memorial was unveiled by General Jan Smuts in 1921 and was the focus of pilgrimages from South Africa through the 1920s and 1930s, after which it was largely forgotten until the 1980s when the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took responsibility for its maintenance. It has been a grade II listed building since 2012.

Devon County War Memorial

The Devon County War Memorial is a First World War memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and situated on Cathedral Green in Exeter, the county town of Devon, in the south west of England. It is one of fifteen War Crosses designed by Lutyens with similar characteristics, and one of two to serve as a civic memorial in a city. The first proposal for the county's war memorial was to complete the construction of a cloister at Exeter Cathedral to be dedicated to Devon's war dead, but this scheme was abandoned due to lack of funds. After considering multiple proposals, the Devon County War Memorial Committee commissioned Lutyens to design a War Cross instead. The committee chose to site the memorial on the green of Exeter Cathedral after scouting several locations. A war memorial for Exeter itself was being considered concurrently, but the committees for the two projects failed to work together, resulting in two separate memorials—the county memorial by the cathedral and Exeter City War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens.

Spalding War Memorial war memorial in Spalding, Lincolnshire

Spalding War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in eastern England. It was designed by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The proposal for a memorial to Spalding's war dead originated in January 1918 with Barbara McLaren, whose husband and the town's Member of Parliament, Francis McLaren, was killed in a flying accident during the war. She engaged Lutyens via a family connection and the architect produced a plan for a grand memorial cloister surrounding a circular pond, in the middle of which would be a cross. The memorial was to be built in the formal gardens of Ayscoughfee Hall, which was owned by the local district council. When McLaren approached the council with her proposal, it generated considerable debate within the community and several alternative schemes were suggested. After a public meeting and a vote in 1919, a reduced-scale version of McLaren's proposal emerged as the preferred option, in conjunction with a clock on the town's corn exchange building.

Northampton War Memorial First World War memorial on Wood Hill in the centre of Northampton, England

Northampton War Memorial, officially the Town and County War Memorial, is a First World War memorial on Wood Hill in the centre of Northampton, the county town of Northamptonshire, in central England. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a Stone of Remembrance flanked by twin obelisks draped with painted stone flags standing in a small garden in what was once part of the churchyard of All Saints' Church.

Norwich War Memorial war memorial in Norwich, England

Norwich War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Norwich in Eastern England. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the last of his eight cenotaphs to be erected in England. Prior to Lutyens' involvement, several abandoned proposals had been made for commemorating Norwich's war dead, and by 1926 the newly elected lord mayor was determined to see the construction of a memorial before he left office. He established an appeal to raise funds for local hospitals in memory of the dead as well as a physical monument. He commissioned Lutyens, who designed an empty tomb (cenotaph) atop a low screen wall from which protrudes a Stone of Remembrance. Bronze flambeaux at either end can burn gas to emit a flame. Lutyens also designed a roll of honour, on which the names of the city's dead are listed, which was installed in Norwich Castle in 1931.

Mells War Memorial war memorial in Mells, Somerset

Mells War Memorial is a First World War memorial by Sir Edwin Lutyens in the village of Mells in the Mendip Hills of Somerset, south-western England. Unveiled in 1921, the memorial is one of multiple buildings and structures Lutyens designed in Mells. His friendship with two prominent families in the area, the Horners and the Asquiths, led to a series of commissions; among his other works in the village are memorials to two sons—one from each family—killed in the war. Lutyens toured the village with local dignitaries in search of a suitable site for the war memorial, after which he was prompted to remark "all their young men were killed".

York City War Memorial war memorial in York, North Yorkshire, England

The York City War Memorial is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in York in the north of England. Proposals for commemorating York's war dead originated in 1919 but proved controversial. Initial discussions focused on whether a memorial should be a monument or should take on some utilitarian purpose. Several functional proposals were examined until a public meeting in January 1920 opted for a monument. The city engineer produced a cost estimate and the war memorial committee engaged Lutyens, who had recently been commissioned by the North Eastern Railway (NER) to design their own war memorial, also to be sited in York. Lutyens' first design was approved, but controversy enveloped proposals for both the city's and the NER's memorials. Members of the local community became concerned that the memorials as planned were not in keeping with York's existing architecture, especially as both were in close proximity to the ancient city walls, and that the NER's memorial would overshadow the city's. Continued public opposition forced the committee to abandon the proposed site in favour of one on Leeman Road, just outside the walls, and Lutyens submitted a new design of a War Cross and Stone of Remembrance to fit the location. This was scaled back to the cross alone due to lack of funds.

North Eastern Railway War Memorial First World War memorial in York in northern England

The North Eastern Railway War Memorial is a First World War memorial in York in northern England. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens to commemorate employees of the North Eastern Railway (NER) who left to fight in the First World War and were killed while serving. The NER board voted in early 1920 to allocate £20,000 for a memorial and commissioned Lutyens. The committee for the York City War Memorial followed suit and also appointed Lutyens, but both schemes became embroiled in controversy. Concerns were raised from within the community about the effect of the NER memorial on the city walls and its impact on the proposed scheme for the city's war memorial, given that the two memorials were planned to be 100 yards apart and the city's budget was a tenth of the NER's. The controversy was resolved after Lutyens modified his plans for the NER memorial to move it away from the walls and the city opted for a revised scheme on land just outside the walls; coincidentally the land was owned by the NER, whose board donated it to the city.

Southend-on-Sea War Memorial war memorial in Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Southend-on-Sea War Memorial, or Southend War Memorial, is a First World War memorial in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on the east coast of England. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a Grade II* listed building.

Holy Island War Memorial war memorial on Holy Island, Northumberland

Holy Island War Memorial, or Lindisfarne War Memorial, is a First World War memorial on the tidal island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland in the far north east of England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is a grade II* listed building.

Lancashire Fusiliers War Memorial

The Lancashire Fusiliers War Memorial is a First World War memorial dedicated to members of the Lancashire Fusiliers killed in that conflict. Outside the Fusilier Museum in Bury, Greater Manchester, in North West England, it was unveiled in 1922—on the seventh anniversary of the landing at Cape Helles, part of the Gallipoli Campaign in which the regiment suffered particularly heavy casualties. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Lutyens was commissioned in light of a family connection—his father and great uncle were officers in the Lancashire Fusiliers, a fact noted on a plaque nearby. He designed a tall, slender obelisk in Portland stone. The regiment's cap badge is carved near the top on the front and rear, surrounded by a laurel wreath. Further down are inscriptions containing the regiment's motto and a dedication. Two painted stone flags hang from the sides.

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry War Memorial war memorial in Oxford, England

The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the Cowley area of Oxford in southern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it commemorates men of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry killed in the conflict; it was unveiled on Armistice Day, 11 November 1923, and has been a grade II listed building since 1972.

Hove War Memorial The City of Brighton and Hove, West Sussex, BN3

Hove War Memorial is a First World War memorial on Grand Avenue in Hove, East Sussex, on the south-east coast of England. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir George Frampton and closely resembles Fordham War Memorial in Cambridgeshire, which was also a collaboration between Lutyens and Frampton. It was unveiled in 1921 and is today a grade II listed building.

Kings Somborne War Memorial Kings Somborne, Test Valley, Hampshire, SO20

King's Somborne War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the village of King's Somborne in Hampshire in southern England. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1921; it is a grade II listed building.

Muncaster War Memorial Muncaster, Copeland, Cumbria, CA18

Muncaster War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the parish of Muncaster on the west coast of Cumbria in the far north-west of England. The memorial is one of fifteen War Crosses designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens; it was unveiled in 1922 and is now a grade II listed building.

Sandhurst War Memorial Sandhurst, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN18

Sandhurst War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the village of Sandhurst in Kent, south-eastern England, close to the border with East Sussex. The memorial is one of fifteen War Crosses by Sir Edwin Lutyens and arguably the one with the most elaborate setting. It was unveiled in 1923 and is today a grade II listed building.




  1. O'Neil, pp. 17–18.
  2. O'Neil, pp. 90–91.
  3. 1 2 Skelton, p. 63.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "Cenotaph". National Recording Project. Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Carden-Coyne, pp. 116–117.
  6. 1 2 Hartwell (2004), p. 332.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Boorman (2005), pp. 112–113.
  8. Skelton, pp. 63–64.
  9. Skelton, pp. 64–65.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Historic England. "Manchester War Memorial (1270697)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  11. Borg, pp. 74–75.
  12. "Thiepval Memorial". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  13. Historic England. "Midland Bank (1219241)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  14. Corke, p. 55.
  15. Wyke, pp. 130–132
  16. 1 2 3 4 Hartwell (2002), p. 202.
  17. 1 2 Barnes, p. 118.
  18. Boorman (1988), pp. 123–124.
  19. Ridley, p. 278.
  20. Skelton, p. 24.
  21. Winter, pp. 102–104.
  22. Borg, p. 96.
  23. Amery et al., p. 148.
  24. King, p. 139.
  25. Carden-Coyne, p. 155.
  26. Borg, p. 88.
  27. Brown, p. 175.
  28. 1 2 3 Skelton, p. 65.
  29. 1 2 "Manchester Cenotaph". War Memorials Register . Imperial War Museums . Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  30. Carden-Coyne, p. 130.
  31. 1 2 Simpson, pp. 104–105.
  32. "Manchester Memorial Bereaved mother assists in unveilling ceremony". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. 14 July 1924. p. 5.  via  British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)
  33. "Relocation, Relocation, Relocation A dignified setting for the Manchester Cenotaph" (PDF). North West Branch Newsletter. Institute of Historic Building Conservation. November 2014. p. 3. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  34. "Manchester's cenotaph 'could be moved'". BBC News. 8 March 2011.
  35. "Workmen start on cenotaph relocation". Manchester Evening News. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  36. "Fury as bizarre graffiti daubed on bench at newly restored cenotaph". Manchester Evening News. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  37. "Manchester's cenotaph to be monitored by 24-hour CCTV after £4,000 damage". Manchester Evening News. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  38. "The Listing and Grading of War Memorials". Historic England. July 2015. p. 2. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  39. "National Collection of Lutyens' War Memorials Listed". Historic England. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2016.