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WWI 100: London’s Memorials… The London Troop Monument

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The London Troops Monument

The Royal Exchange

The London Memorial (aka the London Troops Memorial) outside the Royal Exchange

The London Memorial (aka the London Troops Monument) outside the Royal Exchange

It is estimated that around 900,000 men from London fought in the Great War, approximately 300,000 of who were killed or injured.

Recruiting office at Great Scotland Yard, August 1914

Recruiting office at Great Scotland Yard, August 1914

Standing outside the Royal Exchange in the heart of the financial district, the ‘London Memorial’ lists all of the regiments from the capital involved in the horrendous conflict and commemorates the countless Londoners who lost their lives.

The London Memorial (aka the London Troops Monument) as seen looking towards Bank junction

The London Memorial as seen looking towards Bank junction

The memorial’s Portland stone plinth was designed by the then President of the Royal Academy, Sir Aston Webb (who was also responsible for Admiralty Arch and the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace), whilst the two figures standing either side were created by Alfred Drury.

One of Alfred Drury's life-sized figures

One of Alfred Drury’s life-sized figures

The memorial is topped with a small lion, bearing a shield adorned with St George and the Dragon.

The memorial's lion figurehead

The memorial’s lion figurehead

The memorial is Sir Aston Webb’s second design– his first idea was quite different, consisting of two 75 ft. tall flag poles at the base of which would have been statues of Victory and Peace.

Sir Aston Webb, chief architect behind the London Memorial

Sir Aston Webb, chief architect behind the London Memorial

Costing £7,000 (around £150,000 in today’s money), the monument was funded by public donations.

In order to make room for the memorial, a fountain topped by a statue of Temperance- which had been on the site since 1861 after being presented by the philanthropist, Samuel Gurney, required removal. It was relocated and can be seen today at the northern end of Blackfriars Bridge.

The fountain which once stood outside the Royal Exchange and was relocated to make way for the London Memorial

The fountain at Blackfriars which once stood outside the Royal Exchange and was relocated to make way for the London Memorial (image: Geograph)

The London Troops Memorial was unveiled in foggy conditions on the afternoon of the 12th November 1920 by the Duke of York who was accompanied by the Lord Mayor and the Bishop of London.

The London Memorial on Armistice Day in 1937 (image: London Illustrated News)

The London Memorial on Armistice Day in 1937 (image: London Illustrated News)

The Duke of Connaught (the King’s Uncle) was also due to participate but had to bow out due to bronchitis. He sent a telegram which was read out at the ceremony;

While deeply regretting that I cannot unveil the memorial to London’s splendid soldiers, my thoughts and feelings are with you at today’s interesting occasion and I hope the memorial will always recall the gallant services rendered by London’s sons…”

Two young men contemplate the London Memorial, November 2014

Two young men contemplate the London Memorial, November 2014

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7 responses

  1. Some nice atmospheric photos to accompany a fitting tribute to this memorial.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thanks, Pete much appreciated 🙂

  2. I’ve driven past this monument, a thousand times, never really noticing or taking in what it is, I shall endeavour to pay my respects. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Mike Tinnion. Former Coldstream Guard.

    1. You’re most welcome, Mike. Thanks for the kind words, mate.

  3. Reblogged this on City Walks Guide and commented:
    Great memorial in the City!

  4. This memorial is nearly always on my route when I do walks in the City. Very appropriately located in the heart of the City and in front of Royal Exchange. Commemorating all those who never returned from the War.

    1. Many thanks; appreciate the repost 🙂

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