Design

The original Tower Hill Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir William Reid Dick.

 

Lutyens had planned the memorial for a site at the Embankment in London, near the heart of maritime Britain, but the plan was rejected by the Fine Arts Commission. In November 1926, an alternative site was chosen in the garden at Trinity Square which was considered suitable due to the area’s proximity to London’s maritime history and its comparatively quiet position. Lutyens remained loyal to the project and work began in 1927. 

The memorial is made of Portland stone and consists of a vaulted corridor 21.5 metres long, seven metres wide and seven to 10 metres high, open at either end. It has three wide openings at front and back in which are placed piers of columns. The names of the war dead are inscribed on bronze panels covering the eight main masonry piers which support the roof. The memorial is surmounted by a solid pediment bearing the following dedicatory inscription:

1914 - 1918

TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND TO THE HONOUR OF TWELVE THOUSAND OF THE MERCHANT NAVY AND FISHING FLEETS WHO HAVE NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA

The names of the dead are arranged alphabetically under their ships with the name of the Master or Skipper (if it appears) first in each case. No rank or rating other than Master or Skipper is indicated.

The sculpture is by Sir William Reid Dick. The Scottish sculptor contributed to many war memorials including Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium.

The 1939-1945 Memorial, designed by Sir Edward Maufe who was the Commission’s Principal Architect for the United Kingdom, takes the form of a semi-circular sunken garden surrounded by walls. The sunken garden is nearly two metres deep with its walls rising one metre above the level of Trinity Square Gardens so that views across Tower Hill are not blocked. The internal face of the semi-circular wall is cased in bronze which bears in relief the names of the men commemorated.

At regular intervals round this bronze casing are seven stone sculptured allegorical figures, by Sir Charles Wheeler, representing the Seven Seas. At the entrance there are two columns with two further statues.

From the 1914-1918 Memorial stone steps lead down to the sunken garden and between the flights of steps is the main dedicatory inscription, which reads:

1939 - 1945

THE TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND OF THE MERCHANT NAVY AND FISHING FLEETS

WHOSE NAMES ARE HONOURED ON THE WALLS OF THIS GARDEN

GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR COUNTRY AND HAVE NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA

Architects and Designers

Sir Edwin Lutyens, William Reid Dick, Sir Edward Maufe, Charles Wheeler

Edwin Lutynes

Sir Edwin Lutyens

The distinguished British architect was born in 1869. He was commissioned by the Imperial War Graves Commission to design many of the cemeteries and memorials of the First World War. Many consider his work for the Commission his greatest. It was Lutyens, along with Sir Reginald Blomfield and Sir Herbert Baker, who first went to visit the temporary burial places in Northern France and Belgium to decide how to proceed with the design of the cemeteries.

​Sir Edward Maufe

Sir Edward Maufe

The British architect was born in 1882. He was the Commission’s Principal Architect for the United Kingdom after the Second World War. He designed the Air Forces Memorial at Cooper's Hill overlooking Runnymede in Surrey (also known as Runnymede Memorial) and the extensions to Tower Hill Memorial and the naval memorials at Portsmouth, Plymouth and Chatham.