Great War Memorialisation

Until the Boer War, it was very unusual for individual soldiers to be memorialised. With the advent of the Great War 1914-18, spontaneous memorialisation took off at a rapid speed as the casualty lists grew ever larger. Local community street shrines were erected in many cities and as the war came to an end, virtually every community set about raising the funds to build a memorial.

Although the government attempted to control this process through the Civic Arts Association, the speed of memorialisation did not allow for central control. Many communities debated whether to build a visual or a functional memorial such as a hall or playing field, but such was the conservative nature of Britain in the early 1920s, that most memorials were Christian in their design and were often located on Church land.