Second World War memorial to the casualties of Battersea, in the form of sheltered seating.
Reasons for Designation
The Citizens of Battersea War Memorial, which is situated in Christchurch Gardens, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the Second World War;
* Architectural and design interest: as a carefully designed and executed structure, providing public seating for quiet contemplation in a public garden;
* Location: being next to the site of a church destroyed by bombing, gives the memorial added poignancy.
The Citizens of Battersea war memorial was unveiled on 28 July 1952, and is dedicated to all the people of Battersea who lost their lives in the Second World War. It is located in Christchurch Gardens, which was converted from a churchyard to a public garden in 1885. The memorial takes the form of sheltered seating, intended as a place of remembrance where passers-by could sit and rest. It was one of the Borough’s contributions to the 1951 Festival of Britain, a nationwide celebration of United Kingdom arts, industry and technology marking the centenary of the Great Exhibition. The Festival aimed to encourage a sense of national pride and optimism for the country’s post-War recovery. The main Festival site on London’s South Bank, visited by some 8.5 million people, included the Royal Festival Hall (Grade I) and a suite of pavilions, cafés and sculptures and the Festival Gardens in Battersea Park (Grade II*). Festival activities were organised by communities across the country, which in Battersea included, amongst others, tidying bombed sites, tree-planting and gardening competitions for residents of bungalows, Council estates and requisitioned properties.
The granite dedication plaque is a replacement of the original bronze plaque, which was stolen. The original mid-C19 church, situated to the east of the garden, was destroyed during the Second World War and was replaced by a new church, slightly later than the memorial, in 1959. The church was designed by Thomas F Ford, with murals by Hans Feibusch.
Second World War memorial to all war casualties of Battersea, in the form of sheltered seating.
MATERIALS: red brick with limestone dressings and a clay tile roof.
PLAN: the structure is crescent-shaped, with the convex outer face to the north; the roof is hipped. There is a small central store room, accessed from a door to the north. At either end the structure is extended by a timber pergola resting on brick columns.
EXTERIOR: to the south the structure is open-fronted, the roof and stone architrave supported on a brick colonnade. The roof is surmounted by a copper-clad lantern with a weather vane. The north wall has small unglazed openings with black decorative metal grilles.
INTERIOR: the replacement granite plaque is central, bearing the inscription: TO THE MEMORY / OF THE / MEN, WOMEN / AND / CHILDREN / OF / BATTERSEA / WHO LOST THEIR LIVES / IN THE / WORLD WAR / 1939-1945. To either side, built against the back wall, is timber bench seating.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 17 February 2017.
This list entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 15 June 2021 to amend the description and the addition of a reference to Selected sources