On August 4th 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. With the anniversary coming up on Monday, as First World War Centenary commemorations continue, we’re dedicating this edition to some significant locations.
Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park
The Imperial War Museum was founded just after the First World War, in 1920, although it moved into Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park later, in 1936. Its striking 15-inch battleship guns were both fired in World War II.
The site was owned by Lord Rothermere, who dedicated the park to the “splendid struggling mothers of Southwark” – as there was little open space in the area – and named the park after his own mother.
In 1999, the Dalai Lama opened the Tibetan Peace Garden in the park, for contemplation and reflection.
In the same year, a Soviet War Memorial was unveiled to commemorate the deaths of 27 million there in World War Two.
There’s more information here.
One Tree Hill
The World War One gun emplacement here was built to shoot down Zeppelin airships. Although the gun wasn’t fired, the site had long been an important vantage point in times of conflict.
The park, in Southwark, is named after a single Oak of Honour, which in Norman times marked the southern boundary of the Honour of Gloucester. The current oak is the third on the site – planted in 1905.
Today it remains a beautiful woodland nature reserve, with many ancient trees, and a view over London described by John Betjeman as better than that from Parliament Hill.
Click here to learn more.
Tavistock Square Gardens
These Bloomsbury gardens are home to the World War One Conscientious Objectors’ memorial stone, the focus for International Conscientious Objectors Day every May.
The “conscience clause” was secured in the Conscription Act of 1916 in Britain, during the First World War. More than 16,000 men made the claim.
Surrounded by beautiful 19th-Century terrace houses, the gardens also commemorate Virginia Woolf, who lived in Bloomsbury and whose novel Mrs Dalloway explores the consequences of World War One.
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial and Hiroshima Tree are also designed to promote contemplation of peace. As is a national memorial planned to commemorate the deaths of 13 bus commuters killed in the square by a suicide bombing in 2005.
For more information about this central square, in Camden, please click here.