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Kingston upon Thames War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Kingston upon Thames, London

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Latitude: 51.4104 / 51°24'37"N

Longitude: -0.305 / 0°18'17"W

OS Eastings: 517984

OS Northings: 169295

OS Grid: TQ179692

Mapcode National: GBR 78.ZRX

Mapcode Global: VHGR8.NTN4

Entry Name: Kingston upon Thames War Memorial

Listing Date: 6 October 1983

Last Amended: 2 December 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1080054

English Heritage Legacy ID: 203193

Location: Kingston upon Thames, London, KT1

County: London

District: Kingston upon Thames

Electoral Ward/Division: Grove

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kingston upon Thames

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: All Saints, Kingston-on-Thames

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

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Kingston upon Thames


First World War memorial by Richard Goulden, unveiled on 11 November 1923, with Second World War additions.


The memorial stands within the gated memorial gardens on the site of a former burial ground in Memorial Garden, Union Street.

The memorial consists of a bronze sculpture of a male warrior atop a granite pedestal with low flanking walls, the whole atop a stepped base. The sculpture is of a nude figure of a man bearing aloft a flaming cross while trampling upon a serpent which he kills with a sword, as two children shelter at his side.

The granite pedestal carries the principal inscription in applied bronze. The lower part of this, continuing onto the low flanking walls, carries bronze relief panels bearing 624 First World War names. The principal inscription now includes a dedication to the Second World War but no names were added.

Around the base of the bronze sculpture is inscribed: AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE / SUN AND IN THE MORNING / WE WILL REMEMBER THEM (from Laurence Binyon’s 1914 poem For the Fallen). At the front of pedestal, beneath the sculpture, is inscribed: IN HONOUR OF / THE MEN OF THIS / TOWN WHO GAVE / THEIR LIVES IN / THE GREAT WARS / 1914 – 1919 / 1939 – 1945.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 16 February 2017.


As the First World War went on, longer than anticipated, and casualty lists were mounting, the Borough Librarian at Kingston upon Thames began to collect names of local casualties as news arrived.

The commission for a permanent war memorial at the end of the war went to the talented sculptor Richard Reginald Goulden (1876-1932), who had been a captain in the Royal Engineers during the war. Goulden studied at the Royal College of Art in London. Much of his work was in fountains, statuary, relief panels and busts. He exhibited at the Royal Academy 1903-32. He 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 the Bank of England (1921), 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.

One of Goulden’s earliest war memorial commissions had been for the Bank of England, for whom he produced an allegorical bronze of St Christopher with the Christ child on his shoulder. He saw this as representing youth achieving victory through self-sacrifice for the sake of those yet to come. This was the main theme he developed in some of his later war memorials, which frequently include athletic allegorical male figures, and small children (which he was particularly good at depicting), as is the case at Kingston upon Thames, Crompton and Reigate and Redhill.

At Kingston the sculpture depicts the male striding forward, with left arm raised to hold a flaming crucifix, and right arm lowered to vanquish a serpent that he tramples while protecting two small children from the beast and from thorns. These children shelter by his right side. One stands close to him, looking up at his face, the other crouches behind him for safety.

Around the sides of the base are lines from Laurence Binyon's 1914 poem, For the Fallen: ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them.’ The sculpture stands atop a granite pedestal with low flanking walls carrying bronze relief name panels. The memorial carries 624 names around the plinth, but it is likely that there were over 1,000 casualties in all.

The bronze elements were cast at A B Burton’s Foundry of Summer Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey (active 1874-1939, foundry building demolished 1976). The memorial was unveiled on 11 November 1923 by Frederick George Penny, 1st Viscount Marchwood, MP for Kingston.

The principal inscription was later altered to include a dedication to the Second World War casualties, but no names were added.

The memorial was conserved in 2006 with the help of grant aid from War Memorials Trust.

Reasons for Listing

Kingston upon Thames War Memorial, situated within the memorial gardens on Union Street, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this community, and the sacrifices it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: as a high quality piece of architectural design, incorporating an impressively proportioned granite pedestal and stepped plinth;
* Sculptural interest: as an excellent example of the allegorical sculpture of Richard Goulden, in this case a nude male warrior holding aloft a flaming cross while defending the two small children at his side by vanquishing with his sword a serpent that he tramples below;
* Design: as an example of Richard Goulden’s recurring theme of ‘manhood defending’ and as a relatively rare example of such in English war memorials;
* Group value: with the Grade I-listed All Saints Church and its Grade II-listed gate piers, the Grade II-listed 14 and 16 Church Street, Grade II-listed 13 and 15 Church Street.

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