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Guildford War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Guildford, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2343 / 51°14'3"N

Longitude: -0.5717 / 0°34'18"W

OS Eastings: 499814

OS Northings: 149317

OS Grid: SU998493

Mapcode National: GBR FCK.D9P

Mapcode Global: VHFVN.17MM

Entry Name: Guildford War Memorial

Listing Date: 27 July 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1447488

Location: Guildford, Surrey, GU1

County: Surrey

District: Guildford

Electoral Ward/Division: Holy Trinity

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Guildford

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

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First World War memorial, unveiled 1921, with later additions for the Second World War.


The memorial stands in Guildford Castle gardens, on the northern side of the Bowling Green. Overlooked by the Grade I listed Castle Keep and remains of the Shell Keep, it forms the southern side of a small Garden of Remembrance. Within the castle grounds but outside the scheduled area, it is in close proximity to a number of listed buildings including the Grade II listed Gas Lamp in the Garden of Remembrance. The memorial is approached from the south by a rake of three steps.

The limestone memorial takes the form of a broad Classical archway, the entablature supported by piers at either end, square on plan with inside pilasters, with two Tuscan columns inside, flanking the later Second World War memorial. The entablature is surmounted by two stone urns at either end. The south-facing frieze is inscribed: TO OUR GLORIOUS DEAD, whilst the north-facing frieze bears the inscription: THEIR NAME LIVETH. Above the piers, the dates of the First and Second World Wars are recorded on the frieze on projecting panels reading, to the west: MCMXIV/ MCMXVIII and to the east: MCMXXXIX/ MCMXLV.

The south face of each pier is ornamented with a relief carving of a reversed sword, the hilt and cross-guard encircled by a laurel wreath. The commemorated First World War names are recorded on Portland stone panels on the other faces of the piers. The Second World War memorial standing inside the archway takes the form of a pedestal, square on plan. The south face of the cap is inscribed: 1939 – 1945/ IN REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE GUILDFORDIANS/ WHO DIED IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR, whilst the other faces are inscribed: 1939 · 1945. The commemorated names are listed on each face of the die.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Guildford as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War.

The memorial was unveiled on 6 November 1921 by Lieutenant General Sir Edmund Elles KCB, Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey. It commemorates some 440 local servicemen who died in the First World War. The memorial was not adapted for Second World War commemoration until 1995, when the names of servicemen and women from the old Municipal Borough of Guildford who had died in that conflict were added: the new stone pedestal recording 202 names, was unveiled by the Mayor, Councillor Mrs Catherine Cobley, on 5 November 1995 and dedicated by Bishop Hugh Montefiore.

Reasons for Listing

Guildford War Memorial, which stands in Guildford Castle gardens, 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 sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Architectural interest: an elegant Classical archway ornamented with commemorative symbols of reversed swords and wreaths;

* Group value: with Guildford Castle, a scheduled monument, and the Castle Keep and remains of the Shell Keep, both Grade I listed.

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