History in Structure

Limehouse War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Shadwell, London

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Latitude: 51.511 / 51°30'39"N

Longitude: -0.0416 / 0°2'29"W

OS Eastings: 536000

OS Northings: 180934

OS Grid: TQ360809

Mapcode National: GBR K4.D65

Mapcode Global: VHGR1.79C1

Plus Code: 9C3XGX65+99

Entry Name: Limehouse War Memorial

Listing Date: 18 October 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1449788

Also known as: Ratcliff Memorial Cross

ID on this website: 101449788

Location: St James's Gardens, Ratcliff, Tower Hamlets, London, E14

County: London

District: Tower Hamlets

Electoral Ward/Division: Shadwell

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Tower Hamlets

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Tagged with: War memorial


First World War memorial.


First World War memorial.

DESCRIPTION: Limehouse War Memorial is located within St James’ Gardens, in close proximity to the Grade II*-listed Royal Foundation of St Katherine and the Grade II-listed Shadwell Portal to the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

It is of Portland stone and takes the form of a tall, Latin cross with splayed foot, rising from a rectangular plinth. The north face of the cross-head and shaft is carved with a design of poppy-heads and briars, with the dates 1914/ 1918 incised to the base of the shaft. The plinth has a chamfered, square block foot and surmounts a two-stepped base.

The inscriptions and names are incised on the faces of the plinth; the stone panels to the north, east and west faces project forward. Inscribed to the top of the north face are the words TO THE GLORY OF GOD/ AND TO THE MEMORY OF/ THE MEN OF ENGLAND/ WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR. To the top of the south face are the words GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN/ THAN THAT HE/ SHOULD LAY DOWN HIS LIFE/ FOR HIS FRIENDS. The names are listed below the inscriptions and to the east and west faces.

The memorial sits on a paved area with planting to either side. The area is mostly enclosed from the wider gardens by low metal railings with the exception of a gap to the north side which allows access to the memorial.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Limehouse as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. It was unveiled on 15 April 1923 by General Sir Ian Hamilton GCB GCMG DSO.

Reasons for Listing

Limehouse war memorial, which is situated in St James’ Gardens, 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 local community, and the sacrifice it made during the First World War.

Architectural interest:

* An elegant Latin cross with finely carved depictions of poppy-heads and briars.

Group value:

* With the Grade II*-listed Royal Foundation of St Katherine and the Grade II-listed Shadwell Portal to the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

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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