I wonder how many people know the history of these two significant and impressive memorials to those who fell in war.
Designed by Edwin Lutyens, the Cenotaph (meaning ‘empty tomb’) was first erected in 1919 as a temporary wood and plaster structure for a victory parade at the end of the First World War. It was to be temporary as it was thought that this parade would be a one-off. But the Cenotaph quickly captured the public imagination. Repatriation of the dead had been forbidden since the early days of the war, so the Cenotaph came to represent the absent dead and served as a substitute for a grave. Beginning almost immediately after the parade and continuing for days afterwards, members of the public began laying flowers and wreaths around the Cenotaph’s base: people needed to mourn their sons, fathers and brothers. So clear was this need for a visible monument, that in 1920 it was replaced by a permanent Portland stone structure, to the same Lutyens design, and designated the United Kingdom’s official national war memorial. [Read more…] about Memorials to our War Dead: the Cenotaph and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior