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".
Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, was an English architect known for imaginatively adapting traditional architectural styles to the requirements of his era. He designed many English country houses, war memorials and public buildings. In his biography, the writer Christopher Hussey wrote, "In his lifetime (Lutyens) was widely held to be our greatest architect since Wren if not, as many maintained, his superior". The architectural historian Gavin Stamp described him as "surely the greatest British architect of the twentieth century".
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
A cemetery or graveyard is a place where the remains of dead people are buried or otherwise interred. The word cemetery implies that the land is specifically designated as a burial ground and originally applied to the Roman catacombs. The term graveyard is often used interchangeably with cemetery, but a graveyard primarily refers to a burial ground within a churchyard.
The initial thoughts for the design were sent by Lutyens in letters and memoranda in May and August 1917 to Fabian Ware, the founder and head of the Imperial War Graves Commission, before and after the period in which Lutyens and other architects visited the wartime cemeteries in France in July 1917 at the request of Ware, to give their initial thoughts on what should be done to commemorate the dead:
Major General Sir Fabian Arthur Goulstone Ware, was the founder of the Imperial War Graves Commission, now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Born in Clifton, Bristol, he graduated from the University of Paris in 1894, and traveled to the Transvaal Colony where, as a member of Milner's Kindergarten, he became Director of Education. Ware next became editor of the Morning Post, being fired in 1911 after several controversies. When the First World War started in August 1914, Ware attempted to join the British Army but was rejected because he was too old, and so with the assistance of Lord Milner, he obtained command of a mobile ambulance unit provided by the British Red Cross Society. He ended the war as a major general, and was mentioned in despatches twice. During the war, he founded the Imperial War Graves Commission.
On platforms made of not less than three steps... place one great stone of fine proportion 12 feet long and finely wrot – without undue ornament and tricky and elaborate carvings – and inscribe thereon one thought in clear letters so that all men for all times may read and know the reason why these stones are placed throughout France – facing the West and facing the men who lie looking ever eastward towards the enemy.
Part of the design is the three-stepped platform on which each stone rests. Architectural historian Gavin Stamp, in Silent Cities (1977), quotes further from Lutyen's 1917 correspondence with Ware, where Lutyens describes the proposed stone as:
Gavin Mark Stamp was a British writer and architectural historian.
...one great fair stone of fine proportions, twelve feet in length, lying raised upon three steps, of which the first and third shall be twice the width of the second.
In a later work in 2006, Stamp identifies a similarly abstract and geometrical concept that was part of Lutyens' creative process, citing a letter that Lutyens wrote to his wife while on the July 1917 visit to France, describing how a 'solid ball of bronze' could be used to make a permanent monument.
By the time of Ware's 1937 report, published as The Immortal Heritage the same year, some 560 Stones of Remembrance had been erected for World War I cemeteries and memorials in France and Belgium alone.
The Stone of Remembrance is one of the standard architectural features of Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries and memorials, the other being the Cross of Sacrifice by Reginald Blomfield. In contrast, the design for the Stone deliberately avoided "shapes associated with particular religions".The shape of the Stone has been compared both to that of a sarcophagus and an altar, but was always intended to be abstract and appeal to all denominations.
The Cross of Sacrifice is a Commonwealth war memorial designed in 1918 by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission. It is present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves. Its shape is an elongated Latin cross with proportions more typical of the Celtic cross, with the shaft and crossarm octagonal in section. It ranges in height from 18 to 24 feet. A bronze longsword, blade down, is affixed to the front of the cross. It is usually mounted on an octagonal base. It may be freestanding or incorporated into other cemetery features. The Cross of Sacrifice is widely praised, widely imitated, and the archetypal British war memorial. It is the most imitated of Commonwealth war memorials, and duplicates and imitations have been used around the world.
A sarcophagus is a box-like funeral receptacle for a corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word "sarcophagus" comes from the Greek σάρξ sarx meaning "flesh", and φαγεῖν phagein meaning "to eat"; hence sarcophagus means "flesh-eating", from the phrase lithos sarkophagos, "flesh-eating stone". The word also came to refer to a particular kind of limestone that was thought to rapidly facilitate the decomposition of the flesh of corpses contained within it due to the chemical properties of the limestone itself.
An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches and other places of worship. They are used particularly in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Modern Paganism. Many historical faiths also made use of them, including Roman, Greek and Norse religion.
There was, however, controversy over the symbolism, both during the design and approval process and subsequently. Lutyens and those supporting the concept of secular architecture and equality of remembrance (including Ware) had to contend with those (including other architects advising the Commission and Anglican bishops) who wanted the overt Christian symbolism of a cross, or who objected to the pagan overtones of the proposed Stone. Lutyens corresponded with a wide variety of people to gain support for his idea. Eventually (by January 1918), the decision to use both Cross and Stone was taken, and the two designs were adopted in different ways.Blomfield's Cross was built in different sizes according to the size of the cemetery, with Lutyens' Stone staying the same size but not being used in the smaller cemeteries (of less than 1000 burials) where it was thought it would overwhelm the setting.
The geometry of the stone structure was "based on studies of the Parthenon".According to the Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs each stone is 3.5 metres long and 1.5 metres high. It was designed using the principle of entasis. This involved incorporating subtle curves into the design, so that the stone does not have straight sides, but has circular lines that if extended would form a sphere 1,801 feet and 8 inches (549.15 metres) in diameter. The effect of the stone monument has been attributed to its geometry: "...its curious power and symbolic strength derive from its careful proportions and the application of a subtle entasis to all its surfaces."
The phrase inscribed on the stone, one of several suggested during the design phase, was proposed by the British author, poet and Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, whose only son had died in the war. Kipling's role was to advise the IWGC (now CWGC) on inscriptions and other literary matters, and the phrase used on the Stones of Remembrance is a quote from the Wisdom of Sirach.
|“||THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE||”|
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars. The Commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during World War II. The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and constituted through Royal Charter in 1917 named the Imperial War Graves Commission. The change to the present name took place in 1960.
The Tower Hill Memorial is a pair of Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials in Trinity Square, on Tower Hill in London, England. The memorials, one for the First World War and one for the Second, commemorate civilian merchant sailors and fishermen who were killed as a result of enemy action and have no known grave. The first, the Mercantile Marine War Memorial, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1928; the second, the Merchant Seamen's Memorial, was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and unveiled in 1955. A third memorial, commemorating merchant sailors who were killed in the 1982 Falklands War, was added to the site in 2005.
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is a war memorial to 72,337 missing British and South African servicemen who died in the Battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918, with no known grave. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France. A visitors' centre opened in 2004. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, Thiepval has been described as "the greatest executed British work of monumental architecture of the twentieth century".
Manchester Cenotaph is a war memorial in St Peter's Square, Manchester, 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.
Founded in 1917, the Ramscappelle Road Military Cemetery is located two kilometers east of the city of Nieuwpoort in the province of West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium. It is on the N367, the road which leads from Nieuwpoort to the village of Sint-Joris, near the intersection with Ramscappelle Road (Ramskapellestraat).
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.
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.
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, 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.
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".
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.
Busbridge War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the churchyard of St John's Church in village of Busbridge in Surrey, south-eastern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a grade II* listed building.
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.
The Welch Regiment War Memorial, also known as the Maindy Monument is a First World War memorial at Maindy Barracks in the Cathays area of Cardiff in Wales. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and follows his design for the Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. Unveiled in 1924, it commemorates men of the Welch Regiment who fell in the First World War, and is today a grade II listed building.
Lower Swell War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the centre of the village of Lower Swell in Gloucestershire in south-western England. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was unveiled in 1921 and is today a grade II listed building.
Abinger Common War Memorial is a First World War memorial in the village of Abinger Common in Surrey, south-eastern England. The memorial was destroyed by a German bomb during the Second World War and rebuilt in the late 1940s. One of 15 war crosses by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is a grade II listed building.
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 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.
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