In 2018, "Immortalised" helped you look again at the memorials and statues across England.
A season of activity from Historic England, it explored how, why and who England remembers in its streets, buildings and spaces. It did this through:
Why do memorials matter?
The urge to capture memory makes us human. To remember and understand our past, our loved ones, our ancestors, our collective experience, is what grounds us and gives us identity.
For millennia, we have celebrated and mourned, marked and memorialised. Through stories and song, place and ritual, art and architecture, we have passed down what matters to us.
It is our way of helping people and events live on in our memory. It is how we make them immortal.
When we memorialise an event in stone, carve names into marble, honour people in bricks and mortar, or shape bronze into human form, it is an act of public remembrance.
England's memorials and statues can tell us what mattered to people. From grand men who tower above us in our towns and cities, to humble war memorials in the smallest of villages that speak of a nation's grief, to gold post boxes on suburban streets that surprise and delight.
The First World War changed the face of our memorial landscape, and had a profound effect on public remembrance. From 2014-2018, the centenary of the First World War, we have worked to conserve and celebrate England's war memorials.
What was Immortalised?
- helped you understand why statues and memorials were important to people at the time;
- brought new meaning and context to those who have been remembered and highlight those who have been left out;
- explored the effect it has on people when their collective memory is or isn't represented in public;
- showed that people, and the rituals they carry out, are what keeps a memorial alive;
- suggested ways to balance the need for everyone's stories to be heard and look at the duty we all have to respect and care for what has been left behind;
- showed how our national stories and local tales come together to create identity and leave a legacy for the future;
- encouraged a dialogue around what has been left behind, how we deal with it today, and who, what and why we'd like the next generation to remember;
- explored how we might commemorate people, places and events in the future.
Also of interest...
A Historic England exhibition in London in 2018, exploring how, why and who we remember in the public space.
Murals and shrines, inscriptions on benches and trees, the way we memorialise publically and personally says a lot about our local history.
In 2018 we invited proposals for new ways of remembering events, people and identities in the public realm.