War Memorial Shelters


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Shelters c.140m east of Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London


Ordnance survey map of War Memorial Shelters
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Shelters c.140m east of Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London
Greater London Authority
City of Westminster (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ2601180115, TQ2604180015


Pair of First World War commemorative shelters, 1919.

Reasons for Designation

The commemorative shelters east of Kensington Palace, erected in 1919, are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: the structures, erected by the Silver Thimble Fund, commemorate the tragic impact of The Great War, and praise the soldiers and sailors who fought for Britain; * Design interest: the shelters are a restrained and simple neo-vernacular design, picturesque elements within the formal landscape setting; * Group value: there is a strong visual relationship between the shelters, Kensington Palace, the designed landscape and many other designated structures.


The two shelters in front of Kensington Palace were erected in 1919 by the Silver Thimble Fund. This organisation was created in 1915 to support servicemen in WWI; funds were raised by appealing to women on the home front to donate thimbles and trinkets made from precious metals. During wartime, funds from their sale were typically spent on health-related causes such as motor ambulances and mobile surgeries, and following the end of the war excess funds were used, in this instance, for a pair of commemorative shelters. The charity was re-established in WWII and also operated in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

An inscription on one of the shelters refers to the King’s address to naval Admiral John Jellicoe at the declaration of war, to ‘revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial.'

The seats inside the shelters were removed in 2013.


Pair of First World War commemorative shelters, 1919.

MATERIALS: timber framed with timber cladding and roof shingles.

PLAN: the two shelters are rectangular in plan, situated 100m apart in line with the Broadwalk through Kensington Gardens.

DESCRIPTION: the shelters are simple in construction with four upright corner posts with cross braces supporting the roof structure, which overhangs deeply. There is matchboarding to the ends of the shelters, and across the middle, creating backs to the seats, now removed. There is a low timber screen above the matchboarding upon which commemorative panels are attached to either side. One shelter has the inscription ‘IN MEMORY OF OUR SAILORS / WHO UPHELD “BRITAIN’S SURE SHIELD” / 1914-1918’, and the other: ‘IN MEMORY OF OUR SOLDIERS / WHO FOUGHT IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918’. Both are inscribed ‘ERECTED BY / “THE SILVER THIMBLE FUND” / 1919’. The roofs are hipped and covered with timber shingles.

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.


Daily Mirror Headlines: The Declaration of War, Published 4 August 1914, accessed from http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/mirror01_01.shtml
War Memorials Online, accessed 10 February 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/225867
War Memorials Register, accessed 10 February 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/69698


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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