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Merchant Seamens Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Tower, London

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Latitude: 51.5099 / 51°30'35"N

Longitude: -0.0777 / 0°4'39"W

OS Eastings: 533496

OS Northings: 180752

OS Grid: TQ334807

Mapcode National: GBR VD.PX

Mapcode Global: VHGR0.L9ST

Entry Name: Merchant Seamens Memorial

Listing Date: 15 April 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1031597

English Heritage Legacy ID: 469109

Location: Tower Hamlets, London, EC3N

County: London

District: Tower Hamlets

Electoral Ward/Division: Tower

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: City of London

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): City of London

Church of England Parish: All Hallows-by-the-Tower

Church of England Diocese: London

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Listing Text


788/21/10071 Merchant Seamen's


Second World War memorial. 1952-5 to the designs of Edward Maufe for the Imperial War Graves Commission, as a complement to the adjoining First World War memorial by Lutyens unveiled in 1928 (already listed). The sculptor was Charles Wheeler. Portland stone walls set with bronze panels recalling the names of those who have no grave but the sea. The 8ft walls set in a sunken garden, lined with bronze panels on their inner face and at spaced intervals set with seven stone sculptured allegorical figures representing the seven seas. At the centre of this garden, mainly lawn, is a 'pool' of bronze engraved as a Mariners' compass and set to magnetic north. Around its edge stone paviours and oak seats form part of the composition. Steps ascend to the earlier war memorial, between pylons carved with above life-size figures of an officer and seaman of the merchant service. Between these and the 1914-18 memorial a stone of remembrance on a stepped plinth. Dedicatory inscription to 'The Twenty-four Thousand of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets whose names are honoured on the Walls of this Garden, gave their lives for their Country and have no grave but the sea'.
The Tower Hill Memorial commemorates all merchant seamen who served in ships registered in ports of the British commonwealth or in ships on charter to these governments, who lost their lives as a result of enemy action and who have no known grave. 23,765 men are commemorated, including 80 pilots and lighthousemen and 832 fishermen. Its scale contrasted with that of the First World War memorial demonstrates the crucial role played by the merchant navy in 1939-45. Maufe was commissioned to produce a design that related to the earlier memorial and to the setting of Trinity House (listed in the City of London), and this was successfully achieved. The memorial was unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen on 5 November 1955.

(The Builder: 25 January 1952: 144; The Builder: 4 November 1955: 764)

Listing NGR: TQ3349680752

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 17 February 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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