Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, April 23, 2016

London's Cenotaph

The Cenotaph, effectively the United Kingdom's World War I memorial, is located at Whitehall in London close to the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.

Unveiling Ceremony, 11 November 1920

The monument was originally built after the war as a temporary structure made out of plaster and wood.  It was erected for a parade in London held in  July 1919 to celebrate the signing of the official peace treaty. It was called the Cenotaph ("empty tomb") and was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was so popular that this permanent version was built in 1920.

Queen Elizabeth II Lays a Wreath at the Cenotaph, Remembrance Sunday 2009

An annual Service of Remembrance is held at the site on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November (Armistice Day) each year. Lutyens' cenotaph design has been reproduced elsewhere in the UK and in other countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Bermuda, and Hong Kong.


  1. Simple memorial for the thousands of UK, dominion, and colonial troops lost during the war

  2. By contrast, the elaborate, quasi-modernist temporary memorial to the war dead fabricated for France's victory parade (14 July 1919) was not well-received, especially by PM Clemenceau, who described it as Germanic and ordered its destruction. See

  3. I prefer to visit the monuments in Hyde Park Corner, Wellington Arch area, when I visit London. There are several and go to other wars and the statuary is more explicit and area quieter - park like.