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Bank of England War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Walbrook, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.514 / 51°30'50"N

Longitude: -0.0886 / 0°5'18"W

OS Eastings: 532729

OS Northings: 181187

OS Grid: TQ327811

Mapcode National: GBR SC.7F

Mapcode Global: VHGR0.F60P

Entry Name: Bank of England War Memorial

Location: City of London, London, EC2R

County: London

District: City and County of the City of London

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Locality: Walbrook

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): City of London

Listing Date: 23 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1441311

Summary

First World War Memorial, with an additional plaque to commemorate the fallen of the Second World War.

Description

The memorial is situated in the Garden Court of the Bank of England. A statue made of bronze depicts a young male standing on a rock, nude save for a loincloth, representing St Christopher crossing the stream. On his shoulder sits a child, also nude, representing the infant Christ; their arms are held aloft and clasping, and both show a joyful expression. An inscription running around the bottom of the rock section reads: TO THE COMRADES / WHO, AT DUTY'S CALL, CROSSED THE DARK WATERS TO / THE FURTHER SHORE 1914-1919.

The statue sits atop a four-stepped plinth of Portland stone, bearing a bronze cross and plaques with the names of the fallen. In front of the memorial, set into the paving, is a bronze wreath inscribed: TO THE / MEMORY / OF THOSE WHO / CROSSED THE / SAME WATERS / 1939-1945.

History

A War Memorial Committee of Bank of England staff was formed on 21st November 1918 and a meeting with the Bank's Directors held on 18 February 1919. Numerous ideas were proposed and it was eventually decided to adopt three memorials: a memorial cross in the grounds of the Bank, a bed endowment at Guy's Hospital and a church service. The service was held at Southwark Cathedral on 12 April 1919 and attended by, among others, Lord Hollenden, Lady Cunliffe and the then Governor of the Bank Sir Brien Cokayne, 1st Baron Cullen of Ashbourne, KBE. Fundraising proved extremely successful and so it was decided to commission a more elaborate bronze sculpture instead of a cross. Richard Goulden was chosen by the Bank and he decided to create a model based on St Christopher and the Holy Child, as the Bank's Garden Court was formerly the site of St Christopher-le-Stocks Church (demolished 1781). The sculpture was unveiled on Armistice Day 1921 in a ceremony attended by the Bank's Governor Montagu Norman, 1st Baron Norman, DSO PC and the Reverend E E Holmes. The memorial was re-dedicated with a new wreath and plaque designed by Alexander Scott of Sir Herbert Baker & Scott to honour the fallen of the Second World War. A re-dedication ceremony was held on 20 October 1948, attended by the Bank's Governor Thomas Catto, 1st Baron Catto, the Bishop of Stepney Reverend R H Moberly and former Governor Montagu Norman.

Goulden himself described the sculpture's symbolism thus: "Quite apart from the fact that the ground upon which the Bank now stands has been since very early times dedicated to the Saint, one could hardly find a more fitting subject than St Christopher for a Memorial to those who proved themselves to be inspired by the true spirit of self-sacrifice and love nobly to serve the highest cause. St Christopher has often been represented in Medieval art in the fashion and manner of the times: but every age should give its own rendering and perhaps no age or people has better shown the spirit of St Christopher than our own. My interpretation of the beautiful legend of St Christopher is therefore modern and depicts 'Youth in full vigour joyfully bearing his precious burden inward triumphant to the end, and at the moment of exultation and realisation of victory finding his reward - the Cross of Sacrifice'."

Richard Reginald Goulden (1876-1932) had been a captain in the Royal Engineers during the war. He studied at the Royal College of Art in London and much of his work was in fountains, statuary, relief panels and busts. He exhibited at the Royal Academy 1903-32, and was chosen to produce the figure of G F Watts for the Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road façades of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Of his notable public memorials is the Mrs Ramsay MacDonald memorial seat at Lincoln’s Inn Fields c 1911. In 1914 he produced the statue of Andrew Carnegie, Dunfermline, Fife. Goulden enlisted in 1914 and served on the Western Front with the Second London Division Royal Engineers, being promoted to the rank of Captain in 1916. He was invalided back to the UK and after serving in a staff post in London in 1918 was discharged in July 1919. Following the war, Goulden produced a number of sculptural war memorials, including prestigious commissions for Middlesex Guildhall and Hornsey County School (1922), as well as for Gateshead, (1922), Dover Maison Dieu House (1924), and Brightlingsea. His architectural as well as sculptural skills, in addition to his Royal Engineers training enabled him to design both the sculptures and pedestals of his memorials, as well as to survey and lay out sites ready for their erection.

Reasons for Listing

The Bank of England War Memorial is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the staff of the Bank of England, and the sacrifices they made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Artistic interest: the bronze sculpture by Richard Goulden is a powerful and expressive piece of work by a notable artist who had served during the First World War;
* Group value: with the Grade I listed Bank of England.

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