A First World War memorial, with later additions for the Second World War.
Reasons for Designation
Richmond upon Thames Borough War Memorial, which stands at the end of Whittaker Avenue, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* 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.
* An imposing and well-proportioned memorial incorporating statues of a sailor and soldier in uniform.
Group value: with Richmond Bridge (Grade I) and other nearby buildings listed at Grade II.
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 upon Thames as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the Borough who lost their lives in the First World War. Designed by Messrs Goodale and CO of Richmond, it was unveiled by Field Marshal Sir William Robertson on 23 November 1921 at a ceremony attended by the Mayor and Corporation. Following the Second World War, a dedication was added to commemorate the fallen of that conflict. The figure of a sailor to the north-west side of the memorial has been restored, having been vandalised in 2003.
Richmond upon Thames Borough War Memorial stands on the Embankment at the south-west end of Whittaker Avenue, overlooking the River Thames. A number of buildings on the Embankment to either side are listed, as is Richmond Bridge (Grade I). The tall stone monument takes the form of a column raised on a plinth, flanked by walls on which commemorated names are recorded.
The tapering column, octagonal in plan, supports an orb rising from a moulded collar. The column stands on a tall plinth of three stages. The uppermost stage, with round headed pediments to each side, is carved with Richmond Borough’s coat of arms to the north-east and south-west, with the figure of a sailor to the north-west and a soldier to the south-east. Below the Borough arms is inscribed PRO PATRIA/ 1914 – 1918.
This stage stands on two steps, rectangular on plan. A group of commemorated names is recorded on the north-east face of the upper step. Below, the lower stage bears the principal dedicatory inscription to the south-west face, reading IN REMEMBRANCE/ OF THE MEN OF THIS BOROUGH/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR/ KING AND COUNTRY DURING THE GREAT WARS/ 1914 – 1918 & 1939 – 1945. Two semi-circular steps project from the south-west face of the base, for the placement of wreaths and floral tributes. An additional inscription on the north-east face of the base reads 1914 - 1918/ 1939 – 1945 and records that the Borough’s book of Remembrance is on public display in the former Town Hall (unlisted) nearby.
Flanking walls in brick with stone coping, terminating in low stone piers, extend from the lower stage of the plinth. Stone facings to the south-west face of the walls recorded further names.