Return to A Brief Introduction to Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens

This war memorial was one of the first where Lutyens used the principle of a cenotaph – derived from the Greek ‘kenotaphion’ meaning empty tomb. It was under design when he created its more famous successor, the Cenotaph in Whitehall, which first appeared in temporary form made of wood, plaster and painted canvas.

After having his first Southampton design rejected on cost grounds, Lutyens designed a cenotaph topped by a stone bier holding a sculpture of a fallen soldier on top of a tall stone pillar. It is combined with his Stone of Remembrance.

The Southampton memorial is important as it helped set the context for Lutyens’ later designs, although it is unique among them for the amount of carving – not only the city’s elaborate coat of arms and wreaths with emblems of the armed services but also the pine cones (symbols of eternity) and the two stern lions that guard the bier.

At the unveiling on 6 November 1920 the cover encasing the memorial was first pulled away, before the Union Flag was removed to reveal the recumbent soldier. In the months following the dedication, many families campaigned for the names of their dead loved ones to be included – 203 names in total were initially missing. A local stone mason carved them for free, completing the work by 15 November 1921.

Over the years, the inscriptions began to erode and, in 2011, green glass panels etched with all the names of the fallen were erected either side of the memorial.

Southampton Cenotaph, Watts Park, Southampton. Upgraded to Grade I

Dimensions:
1447 × 1930
File size:
1 MB
Taken:
23 January 2007

Aperture

4

Camera

Canon PowerShot S80

Focal Length

8.564mm

Shutter Speed

1/320