History in Structure

War Memorial Shelters

A Grade II Listed Building in Campden, London

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Latitude: 51.505 / 51°30'18"N

Longitude: -0.1853 / 0°11'7"W

OS Eastings: 526041

OS Northings: 180015

OS Grid: TQ260800

Mapcode National: GBR 2G.LN

Mapcode Global: VHGQY.QFWL

Plus Code: 9C3XGR47+2V

Entry Name: War Memorial Shelters

Listing Date: 4 August 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420382

ID on this website: 101420382

Location: Kensington Gardens, Kensington, Westminster, London, W2

County: London

District: City of Westminster

Electoral Ward/Division: Campden

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kensington and Chelsea

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Holy Trinity South Kensington

Church of England Diocese: London

Tagged with: War memorial Shelter Shelter

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Pair of First World War commemorative shelters, 1919.


Pair of First World War commemorative shelters, 1919.

MATERIALS: timber framed with timber cladding and roof shingles.

PLAN: the two shelters are rectangular in plan, situated 100m apart in line with the Broadwalk through Kensington Gardens.

DESCRIPTION: the shelters are simple in construction with four upright corner posts with cross braces supporting the roof structure, which overhangs deeply. There is matchboarding to the ends of the shelters, and across the middle, creating backs to the seats, now removed. There is a low timber screen above the matchboarding upon which commemorative panels are attached to either side. One shelter has the inscription ‘IN MEMORY OF OUR SAILORS / WHO UPHELD “BRITAIN’S SURE SHIELD” / 1914-1918’, and the other: ‘IN MEMORY OF OUR SOLDIERS / WHO FOUGHT IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918’. Both are inscribed ‘ERECTED BY / “THE SILVER THIMBLE FUND” / 1919’. The roofs are hipped and covered with timber shingles.

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, 10 February 2017.


The two shelters in front of Kensington Palace were erected in 1919 by the Silver Thimble Fund. This organisation was created in 1915 to support servicemen in WWI; funds were raised by appealing to women on the home front to donate thimbles and trinkets made from precious metals. During wartime, funds from their sale were typically spent on health-related causes such as motor ambulances and mobile surgeries, and following the end of the war excess funds were used, in this instance, for a pair of commemorative shelters. The charity was re-established in WWII and also operated in the US, Australia and New Zealand.

An inscription on one of the shelters refers to the King’s address to naval Admiral John Jellicoe at the declaration of war, to ‘revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain and of her Empire in the hour of trial.'

The seats inside the shelters were removed in 2013.

Reasons for Listing

The commemorative shelters east of Kensington Palace, erected in 1919, are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: the structures, erected by the Silver Thimble Fund, commemorate the tragic impact of The Great War, and praise the soldiers and sailors who fought for Britain;
* Design interest: the shelters are a restrained and simple neo-vernacular design, picturesque elements within the formal landscape setting;
* Group value: there is a strong visual relationship between the shelters, Kensington Palace, the designed landscape and many other designated structures.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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