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Southwark Military Hospital War Memorial Cross

A Grade II Listed Building in East Dulwich, Southwark

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4589 / 51°27'31"N

Longitude: -0.0807 / 0°4'50"W

OS Eastings: 533436

OS Northings: 175067

OS Grid: TQ334750

Mapcode National: GBR HK.VQ6

Mapcode Global: VHGR6.KL5H

Plus Code: 9C3XFW59+GP

Entry Name: Southwark Military Hospital War Memorial Cross

Listing Date: 18 October 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1449922

Location: Southwark, London, SE22

County: Southwark

Electoral Ward/Division: East Dulwich

Built-Up Area: Southwark

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Summary


First World War memorial cross.

Description

MATERIALS: Carrara marble.

DESCRIPTION: the marble war memorial cross stands in the grounds of the former Dulwich Hospital. It comprises a Latin crosslet cross rising from a collar on a tall shaft, octagonal in section. The collar takes the form of a blind arcade. The shaft rises from a square plinth with recessed panels on each face, standing on a two-stepped, octagonal, base.

The incised inscriptions are located within the recessed panels on the plinth. The principal dedicatory inscription to the front face reads TO THE MEMORY OF/ THE NON-COMMISSIONED/ OFFICERS AND MEN/ OF THE ARMIES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE/ WHO DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR/ IN THIS HOSPITAL/ DURING THE GREAT WAR/ 1915 – 1919. The commemorated names are recorded on the remaining faces of the plinth.

History

During the First World War the number of existing hospital beds became insufficient for the large number of casualties requiring treatment in the UK. As a temporary measure the War Office sought to use some Poor Law Infirmaries to assist with the situation. The Southwark Union Infirmary (1885-1887 by Henry Jarvis, unlisted) was the first such institution in London to be evacuated and handed over for war casualties.

The infirmary was taken over in November 1915 by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). At this time, it was renamed the Southwark Military Hospital. The existing hospital staff were retained and augmented with nurses from the Voluntary Aid Detachment and RAMC personnel. The number of beds was increased to 820, with tents erected in the grounds. British and Empire troops were treated, including American soldiers. The hospital was returned to civilian service in April 1919.

The Southwark Guardians erected a war memorial cross in front of the hospital to commemorate the 119 troops who died there. Some 12,522 wounded and sick men had been cared for. During the 1950s the cross was dismantled while the hospital entrance road was being redeveloped, and stored at Grove Park Hospital. The cross and shaft were subsequently lost. Southwark Primary Care Trust and the Dulwich Society led a project to restore the memorial and in 2009, with the help of grant aid from War Memorials Trust, a replacement cross and shaft base were made based on historical photographs. The shaft was fixed onto the original plinth and steps which were set into new foundations, in a new position about 20m to the east of its original location.

Reasons for Listing

The Southwark Military Hospital War Memorial Cross, which stands outside the former Dulwich Hospital, 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 local community, and the contribution made on the Home Front during the First World War.
    
Architectural interest:

*     a tall and elegant marble memorial cross.

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