Posts Tagged ‘statues and memorials in London’

This memorial is to the members of the Camel Corps of the British Army who died in service. It is situated in Victoria Embankment Gardens, near Charing Cross Station.

The Camel Corps was formed in 1916 and in its short existence, it saw service in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine. The memorial records that the men of the Corps came from a number of Commonwealth Countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand and India. It was disbanded in 1919. The memorial is by Major Cecil Brown, himself an officer in the Camel Corps and was unveiled in 1921.

This statue of a cordwainer, by Alma Boyes, was unveiled in 2002 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Cordwainer ward club. It was originally in the courtyard of St Mary-le-Bow but was moved after a couple of years to Watling St by St Mary Aldermary Church.

A Cordwainer was a shoemaker and the ward was named in the middle ages because this area of London was a traditional area for shoemaking in the city.

James Cook was born in November 1728 and joined the Merchant Navy in his teens. He transferred to the Royal Navy in 1755 and during the seven years war was tasked with mapping the St Lawrence River in Canada. The results of his work impressed the Admiralty and he was given command of HMS Endeavour in 1776 and sent on 3 expeditions to map the Pacific Ocean. His work was the most complete mapping of that Ocean and the countries contained in it that had been carried out. On his first voyage, he became the first European to visit the East coast of Australia at a place he called ‘Botany Bay’ (in April 1770). He later travelled up the coast and in June he ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef and had to spend a number of weeks repairing his ship in the estuary of the Endeavour River (near Cookstown, Queensland) before continuing his journey.

In January 1779 on the last of these 3 voyages, he put in at Hawaii. There was an exchange of gifts with the local Hawaiian rulers, but there was also a story that some items were removed from the town without payment or permission. Cook’s ships set sail but was caught in a storm and had to return to Hawaii to carry out repairs. It is not very clear what happened but relations between the native population and the Europeans were not friendly. During this visit, a boat was stolen by the Hawaiians and maybe in an attempt to get it returned Cook tried to capture the local chief and hold him as a hostage. They got as far as the beach but were confronted by an angry crowd of native Hawaiians. Shots were fired by Captain Cook’s marine escort and during the melee that ensued Captain Cook was stabbed. The marines and sailors managed to get to the boats and escape leaving behind the chief and the body of their dead Captain. Repairs on the ships took a further week to complete and during this time the ships bombarded the town causing a lot of destruction.

Despite all that happened, and contrary to some later reports, the Hawaiians treated Captain Cook’s body with the same reverence as one of their own people, carrying out the local funeral rites before returning his preserved remains to the Navy who buried them at Sea.

This statue of Captain James Cook by Thomas Brock can be found on the Mall near Admiralty Arch.

Memorial to Arthur Phillip, St Mary le Bow London

Arthur Philip was born in London in 1738. He attended the Greenwich Hospital School and in 1753 joined a whaling boat. Two years later he quit the whaler and signed on for the Royal Navy. He saw action at the Battle of Menorca (1756) and at the Battle of Havana (1762) by which time he had been commissioned as a lieutenant. The following year the war ended and Philip, without a ship, bought a farm in Hampshire. However, in 1769 he returned to the Navy and by 1774 found himself as the captain of a frigate in the Portuguese Navy during their war against Spain. By 1778, Britain was a war again and he was recalled to the Royal Navy and saw service southern Atlantic and around India.

Admiral Arthur Phillip. (By not attributed (Admiral Phillip frontispiece) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

In 1786 he was appointed the governor of the new colony of New South Wales. On arrival, he chose a cove to anchor his fleet and going ashore named it after his friend, and Home Office undersecretary, Lord Sydney. It is recorded that he tried to run the colony as fairly and justly as circumstances allowed, but often government policy and logistic failings negated his decisions. He tried to keep peace with the local Aboriginal peoples and is recorded one occasion following a misunderstanding during a meeting Philip was speared in the shoulder. However, he kept calm and would not allow any retaliation by the colonial forces.

Sketch of Sydney Cove colony 1788 (By not attributed (Admiral Philip opposite p. 56) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

By 1790 the situation had stabilised and the colony was functioning. Convicts were being given land to farm when they completed their sentence in order to supplement the food available for the colony. By 1792, however, Philip unwell returned to England. He recovered and returned to Royal Naval service in 1796, being made Rear Admiral three years later before finally retiring from active service as an Admiral in 1805. He died Bath in 1814.

Memorial to Arthur Phillip, St Mary le Bow London

There are a number of memorials dedicated to Arthur Philip both in the UK and in Australia. At the dedication of the memorial in Westminster Abbey in 2014, the Dean of Westminster described Phillip as: “This modest, yet world-class seaman, linguist, and patriot, whose selfless service laid the secure foundations on which was developed the Commonwealth of Australia, will always be remembered and honoured alongside other pioneers and inventors here in the nave.

The memorial pictured here was originally in St Mildred’s church Bread Street in London but was recovered following the church’s destruction by bombing in 1941 and relocated in St Mary Le Bow.

This statue by Jim Clack was commissioned in 1951 and erected a couple of years later. It originally stood on a fountain in the centre of Green Park but was moved to its current site near Green Park Station in 2011

Rush Green, or as it is sometimes known ‘The Pan Statue’ can be found at Edinburgh gate of Hyde Park. It was sculpted by Jacob Epstein who lived nearby and was completed in 1961 shortly before he died. It was originally outside nearby Bowater House but was moved to its current site in 2007 when the Bowater site was redeveloped.

The statue shows a family and a dog rushing towards the green of the Park, urged on by Pan, who is depicted playing his pipes.


Statue of Sir Henry Bartle Frere in Embankment Gardens

Statue of Sir Henry Bartle Frere in Embankment Gardens

Henry Bartle Frere was born in March 1815  in Monmouthshire.  He was educated at the East India company college and on graduation in 1834 was sent to India as a civil servant in Poona. By 1842 he had risen to be the secretary to the Governor of Bombay and two years later married the governor’s daughter. He was then posted as the Resident at the court of the Raja Sharji of Satara and in 1850 he became Chief Commissioner in Sindh province, where he set up the Postal Service which would form the model for the later Indian postal system. He was knighted in 1857 and joined the Viceroy’s staff in 1859, before becoming Governor of Bombay in 1862. Whilst in this post he implemented a policy of municipal improvements in the city. In 1867 he returned to England.


He served as a member of the commission on India until 1877 when he was posted as Commissioner for Southern Africa. His attempted civil reorganisation and Confederation of the states, against the advice of local leaders, was strongly resisted. It led to a number of local wars and eventually to the Anglo-Zulu War and the first Boer war.

By Anon. - Cape Archives Depot, Public Domain, (

Sir Henry Bartle Frere By Anon. – Cape Archives Depot, Public Domain, (

In 1880 he was recalled to London and charged with misconduct. He died whilst preparing his defence and was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral.


I came across this interesting piece of artwork above the entrance to a block of flats in West London. I have been trying to find out more details but cannot find any references to who it is by or what the subject is. It appears to be an ancient soldier -possibly Egyptian.


The Millennium Measure with the Shard in the background

The Millennium Measure with the Shard in the background

The Millennium Measure stands on the north bank of the Thames not far from London Bridge. It was a gift from the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers to the City in commemoration of the millennium.


Detail of monument depicting a chronology of invention of scientific instruments

Detail on monument depicting a chronology of invention of scientific instruments


William Thomas Stead was born in Northumberland in 1849. He was educated at home by his father, a church minister before attending school in Wakefield. After leaving school, he obtained a job as a clerk in Newcastle docks. He began writing for the Northern Echo and in 1871, at the age of 22, he became editor. Under his guidance the circulation rose and it became nationally circulated. In 1880 he moved to London to take up the post of assistant editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, becoming editor 3 years later. He was a great innovator and introduced many things which we consider commonplace in newspapers today. These included the use of sub-headings, diagrams, maps and the inclusion of interviews. In 1885 he campaigned against Child prostitution and as part of his investigation ‘purchased’ a 13-year-old girl. Although his campaign was successful in getting the law changed, Stead was charged with abduction and served 3 months in prison when convicted. In 1889 he started up the ‘Review of reviews’ a monthly publication. He campaigned for a number of social changes including international peace and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1904 he founded a new publication titled ‘The Daily Paper’ but this folded after 6 weeks.

In 1912 he was aboard the Titanic when it sunk. Accounts speak of Stead helping people into lifeboats and giving up his life jacket to another passenger. The last report was of him clinging to a lifeboat but his body was never recovered and he was believed to have let go and drowned.

The monument to his life can be found on the Victoria Embankment.