Amid all the grand war-related memorials of London, this rather humble memorial sitting outside the north transept of St Paul’s Cathedral in St Paul’s Churchyard can easily be overlooked.
Known as the Memorial to the Londoners killed in World War II Bombardments or simply as the ‘People of London’ memorial as it’s called on the sculptor’s website, it commemorates the 30,000 Londoners who were killed during the Blitz (not to be confused with the National Firefighters’ Memorial, known informally to many as the Blitz Memorial, which sits opposite the cathedral’s south transept and commemorates firefighters who died during the Blitz).
The round memorial was carved from a three tonne block of Irish limestone and is set into paving (it was initially very shiny).
The gilded inscription which runs around the outside reads “Remember before God the people of London 1939-1945” while on top, written in a spiral, is an inscription written by Sir Edward Marsh – “In war resolution, in defeat defiance, in victory magnanimity, in peace goodwill”, the text of which was used by Sir Winston Churchill in the frontispiece to his history, The Second World War.
Unveiled by the Queen Mother on 11th May, 1999, the memorial is the work of Richard Kindersley, whose other memorials include the Commonwealth Memorial on Constitution Hill.
Kindersley writes on his website, that the “position of the memorial adjacent to St Paul’s is most appropriate, as most people will remember the dramatic photograph of the Cathedral dome of the taken during a devastating attack in 1941.”
It was paid for by public funds raised following an appeal in the Evening Standard newspaper, launched in connection with the 50th anniversary of VE Day.