Originally installed over a staircase in the Baltic Exchange in 1922, this World War I memorial commemorates exchange members who were killed during the conflict.
Designed by John Dudley Forsyth, the memorial takes the form of a three metre high half dome depicting the winged Victory stepping from a boat into a Roman temple where she is greeted by various Roman figures. Shields and badges of colonies and dependencies of the British Empire are incorporated into the image with the Royal Coat of Arms at the centre.
Below the half dome are five two metre high ‘Virtue Windows’ with representations of the virtues – truth, hope, justice, fortitude and faith. Two panels on the sides list key battles from World War I.
The windows were originally accompanied by marble panels listing all those who had died.
The memorial was unveiled by General Sir Herbert Alexander Lawrence on 1st June 1922, and dedicated by the Bishop of Willesden, William Perrin.
It survived World War II’s Blitz intact but in 1992 was badly damaged when an IRA bomb significantly damaged the building. Of the 240 panels in the memorial, only 45 were completely intact.
The Baltic Exchange was subsequently demolished (St Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin, now stands on the site). The damaged memorial, meanwhile, was taken from the building and restored. It’s been displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich since 2005.
WHERE: National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, Greenwich (nearest station is Cutty Sark DLR); WHEN: 10am to 5pm daily; COST: Free; WEBSITE: www.rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum.
PICTURE: Top – The half dome of the memorial (image_less_ordinary (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)); Right – One of the Virtue Windows (john.purvis (licensed under CC BY 2.0)