No. 15. Equality in death: the Servants’ War Memorial, 1924

Servants memorial hi res

This is a highly contentious carving.  Not only does the word ‘servants’ evoke the class distinctions of the Edwardian era, but the very separation of this group of names on the War Memorial reinforces that separation in contemporary eyes.  Yet when it was created it was as an act of deep reverence and honour. Radley is one of very few schools which included the serving staff on its War Memorial. At its dedication in 1924 it was part of the great democratisation in death which saw the creation of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission at the end of World War 1.

The whole debate of what form a War Memorial should take began at Radley as early as January 1917 and was not concluded for another 30 years.  In that time the committee had resigned twice, the builders had failed their contract, the architect had died and another war had been fought.  Utility or Sentiment?  What is a War Memorial all about? … read on >>>

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