First World War memorial by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA, unveiled 1921, with later additions for the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
Richmond Borough War Memorial, which stands in Friary Gardens off Queens Road, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: an elegant and imposing memorial cross incorporating Baker’s warship motif;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946), who designed a number of memorials at home and abroad;
* Group value: with Grey Friars Tower (Grade I-listed) in the grounds of the scheduled Franciscan Friary.
The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Richmond as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.
In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Sir Herbert Baker made a proposal for a cross to stand in all of the Commission’s cemeteries, but a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield was chosen. Although the Commission’s architects were free to use crosses of their own choice within the cemeteries that they designed, the Blomfield cross proved to be the universal choice. Baker, nevertheless, used variants of his cross design for a number of English war memorials, including that at Richmond.
The land for the memorial was given by Lord Zetland. The Marquess of Zetland performed the unveiling on 23 October 1921, and the memorial was dedicated by the Rector, Reverend Canon Egerton Leigh. Costing £1,100, the memorial commemorates 101 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of 54 men who died in that conflict were added, recorded on metal plaques fixed to the memorial’s retaining wall.
Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946) was born, and died, in Cobham, his English home. Articled to Arthur Baker in 1881, he was Assistant to Messrs Ernest George and Peto (1886-90) and attended the Royal Academy Schools. During the 1890s he was in South Africa, designing the Prime Ministerial residence ‘Groote Schuur’ and many private residences as well as government buildings following the South African union. From 1912 he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India on New Dehli. From 1917 to 1928 Baker was one of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission principal architects, for whom he designed 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He was also responsible for four Memorials to the Missing including those to the South Africans at Delville Wood and the Indians at Neuve Chapelle. He designed 24 war memorials in England. During the inter-war years his work at home included South Africa House (Grade II*), Rhodes House (Grade II*) and, his last major public commission, the Bank of England (Grade I).
The tall Staindrop stone memorial stands in Friary Gardens, positioned in front of the Grade I-listed Grey Friars Tower and within the scheduled area of the Franciscan Friary. It comprises a small equal-armed cross that rises from a moulded collar on an octagonal shaft. The shaft stands on three steps that are raised on a tall base, octagonal on plan. The base stands on a low step and is set into an offset retaining wall that flanks the cross. The capped retaining wall is in coursed rubble-stone.
The principal dedicatory inscription incised around the top of the base reads IN MEMORY OF/ THE RICHMOND/ MEN WHO GAVE/ THEIR LIVES IN/ THE GREAT WAR. A three-masted warship with billowing sails is carved in relief to the front face of the base: the names of the dead are incised into the other faces.
Two precisely similar rectangular bronze plaques are fixed to the flanking retaining wall, one either side of the memorial cross. Reading RICHMOND BOROUGH WAR MEMORIAL/ 1939 – 1945/ (NAMES)/ THEY DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE, they record the Second World War casualties.
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, 6 June 2017.