The Guards Memorial

Overview

Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1231315

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Oct-2014

Statutory Address: The Guards Memorial, Horse Guards Parade, Horse Guards Road SW1

Map

Ordnance survey map of The Guards Memorial
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

Statutory Address: The Guards Memorial, Horse Guards Parade, Horse Guards Road SW1

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: City of Westminster (London Borough)

Parish: Non Civil Parish

National Grid Reference: TQ2991680052

Summary

War memorial by Gilbert Ledward (sculptor) and Harold Chalton Bradshaw (architect). Unveiled in 1926 by the Duke of Connaught (Senior Colonel of the Guards) and Gen. George Higginson, a Crimean veteran.

Reasons for Designation

The Guards Memorial, St James Park, City of Westminster is listed at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * Historic interest: a prominently located memorial to the men of the Guards regiments who lost their lives, and the sacrifices they made in the conflicts of the C20; * Design: as the considered work of a partnership of two designers, Harold Bradshaw and Gilbert Ledward, notable specifically for their work on war memorials; * Sculptural interest: as a high-quality synthesis of classical architectural composition and high-quality bronze figurative sculpture with relief panels showing military hardware; * Setting: as a focus for Horse Guards Parade and the high-graded buildings which flank it.

History

The Guards Division memorial at Horse Guards Parade commemorates 14,000 Guardsmen who died in the First World War, and was added to after the Second World War. Fundraising for the memorial began in 1920, and the design competition for it was won in 1921 by the architect Harold Chalton Bradshaw and the sculptor Gilbert Ledward. The two had met at the British School at Rome before the war, where the former had been the first Rome Scholar in Architecture and the latter the first Rome Scholar in Sculpture. The first design was inspired by Galloni’s Garibaldi monument in Rome, but it then evolved into a stocky and severe stone obelisk, or pylon, against which stands a deliberatively stiff and formal row of five guardsmen. Ledward was instructed that each was to be representative of a typical soldier from each of the five divisions: Grenadiers, Coldstreams, Scots, Welsh and Irish Guards. Early designs for the bronze relief to the rear depicted dead or dying soldiers as part of the overall composition, but these were omitted from the final bronze – perhaps a testament as much to the sculptor’s conservatism as to wider feelings that such depictions were unacceptable. The memorial was unveiled in 1926 by the Duke of Connaught (Senior Colonel of the Guards) and Gen. George Higginson, a Crimean veteran.

Bradshaw (1893-1943) had trained at the Liverpool School of Architecture and had been gassed and wounded in the war. In 1924 he became the first Secretary of the newly founded Royal Fine Art Commission and shortly afterwards won two separate competitions for Memorials to the Missing proposed by the Imperial War Graves Commission: at Cambrai (eventually erected at Louverval in France) and at Lille (taken over the border to Ploegsteert in Belgium and where the flanking lions are by Ledward).

Gilbert Ledward (1888-1960), was the son of the sculptor Richard Arthur Ledward and was born in Chelsea. He studied at the Royal College of Art under Professor Lanteri and Benjamin Clemens and later became a Professor at the Royal College of Art himself. In 1913 he was awarded the first ‘Prix de Rome’ in sculpture from the British School in Rome. He served in the Artillery during the First World War. His reputation as a sculptor was first formed by his work on war memorials. He exhibited at the Victoria and Albert exhibition as well as the Royal Academy’s exhibition in 1919. His most notable work is the sculpture of Britannia and a soldier at the War Memorial Art Gallery in Stockport, Greater Manchester (Grade II*).

Details

MATERIALS: the memorial stands 38ft 6” high and is constructed of Portland stone with bronze relief panels and statuary.

DESCRIPTION: the central pylon is a broad, squat obelisk with inscription on all four sides. An incised string-course of five lines caps the structure. The memorial records no names but on the Eastern face, that which fronts Horse Guards Parade, the inscription reads TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND IN MEMORY OF THE/ OFFICERS WARRANT OFFICERS/ NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS &/ GUARDSMEN OF HIS MAJESTY'S/ REGIMENTS OF FOOT GUARDS/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR/ KING AND COUNTRY DURING THE/ GREAT WAR OF 1914 - 1918 AND OF THE/ OFFICERS WARRANT OFFICERS/ NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND/ MEN OF THE HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY/ ROYAL REGIMENT OF ARTILLERY/ CORPS OF ROYAL ENGINEERS/ ROYAL ARMY SERVICE CORPS ROYAL/ ARMY MEDICAL CORPS AND OTHER/ UNITS WHO WHILE SERVING WITH/ THE GUARDS DIVISION IN FRANCE &/ BELGIUM 1915 - 1918 FELL WITH THEM IN/ THE FIGHT FOR THE WORLD'S FREEDOM.

Five over life-sized bronze soldiers (7ft 3" high), one for each of the Guards regiments represented, stand at ease against a stone cenotaph on a podium atop a three-stepped plinth. Badges of the Guard’s regiments are carved in relief below the figures with the following inscription THIS MEMORIAL ALSO COMMEMORATES ALL THOSE MEMBERS/ OF THE HOUSEHOLD DIVISION WHO DIED IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ AND IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY SINCE 1918. Bronze relief panels are mounted on either side of the cenotaph depicting various pieces of equipment specific to the regiments commemorated. On the rear face of the memorial, facing St James’s Park, is a panel depicting an 18-pounder field gun being loaded.



This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 10 February 2017.



Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 210225

Legacy System: LBS

Sources

Books and journals
Ward-Jackson, P, Public Sculpture of Historic Westminster Vol 1, (2011), 74-77
Websites
War Memorials Online, accessed 10 February 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/130022
War Memorials Register, accessed 10 February 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/11359

End of official listing