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Statue of General Gordon, Gordon's School

A Grade II Listed Building in West End, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.3431 / 51°20'35"N

Longitude: -0.6452 / 0°38'42"W

OS Eastings: 494457

OS Northings: 161322

OS Grid: SU944613

Mapcode National: GBR FB2.RPP

Mapcode Global: VHFV0.RHRP

Entry Name: Statue of General Gordon, Gordon's School

Listing Date: 29 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1424607

Location: West End, Surrey Heath, Surrey, GU24

County: Surrey

District: Surrey Heath

Civil Parish: West End

Built-Up Area: Woking

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Bisley and West End

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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Statue on plinth. A 1902 second casting of the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford's statue of General Gordon (first cast in 1890). The plinth is of circa 1959.


Statue on plinth. A 1902 second casting of the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford's statue of General Gordon (first cast in 1890). The plinth is of circa 1959.

MATERIALS: bronze statue on stone plinth.

DESCRIPTION: a thirteen feet high, bronze, full-sized statue of General Gordon in the uniform of an Egyptian general, seated on a tasselled saddle upon a standing camel. The base is inscribed 'GORDON' on the front and has a decoration of olive branches. The classical style rectangular stone plinth has recessed corner piers, a moulded cornice and base. An inscription on one side of the plinth reads 'THIS STATUE WAS ERECTED AT KHARTOUM/ IN 1904 AND PRESENTED TO/THE SCHOOL IN I959.' An inscription on the base of the plinth records that the plinth was presented in memory of Major General Sir Hubert J Huddleston who served the Sudan for 23 years.


Gordon's School was originally 'The Gordon Boys' Home', which was built as the National Memorial to General Charles George Gordon CB, killed at the siege of Khartoum, Sudan in 1885. The aim was to teach under-privileged boys from the age of 13 to 17 practical trades to set them up for a 'life of usefulness', either within civil employment or in any branch of the armed forces. The appeal for funds to build a permanent home at West End, near Woking, was headed by Queen Victoria and other members of the Royal Family with contributions from foreign royalty, the diplomatic service, army, navy and numerous individuals.

The first temporary home was made available by the War Office and set up in 1885 at Fort Wallington near Fareham but the boys moved into their permanent home on 14th December 1887.

The bronze statue of General Gordon at Gordon's School was the second casting of a statue commissioned by the Corps of Royal Engineers and executed by the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford RA (1852-1901). The client's original specification was for a statue of General Gordon on foot in the uniform of an Egyptian General, but the sculptor considered it more appropriate for him to be mounted on a camel. To this end he made studies at London Zoo, including casts from a dead camel, and the sculptor's camel design prevailed. The first casting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1890 and then erected in Brompton Barracks near Chatham, Kent. This second casting was originally unveiled in July 1902 in St. Martin's Place, London but shipped to Sudan in October of that year and erected in Gordon Avenue, Khartoum, opposite the Governor-General of Sudan's Palace, in 1903. Originally on a low plinth, Lord Kitchener ordered the statue to be placed on a much higher plinth to appear more impressive. The statue remained in Khartoum until 1958, but, rejected by the Sudanese Government after independence, it was presented by the British Government to Gordon's School and it has been situated since 1959 at the edge of Gordon's School playing fields. The 1959 stone plinth was presented in memory of Major General Sir Hubert J Huddleston, Governor-General of Sudan between 1940 and 1947, by his widow.

Reasons for Listing

The statue of General Gordon at Gordon's School by the sculptor Edward Onslow Ford RA, cast in 1902 with a 1959 plinth, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Aesthetic quality: a fine bronze sculpture by a reputable sculptor with the subject unusually mounted on a camel;
* Historic interest: General Gordon is a figure of national importance and this statue is located at the school founded in his memory;
* Group value: with other listed buildings and structures at the school.

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