War memorials

Ealing war memorial

It was in January 1919, two months after the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, that the proposal was first made to erect a permanent memorial to the men and women of Ealing who had given their lives in the Great War. By October, £5,565 had been collected for the project.

There was talk that the actual war memorial would be a heavy gun mounted on stone. After long deliberation it was agreed that the memorial was to be on a site in front of Pitzhanger Manor on Ealing Green. The memorial was to be a gateway, in front of the manor’s main entrance. It was to comprise of two walls, which would list the names of those who had been killed in the war. Finally, there would be a tree-lined avenue from St. Mary’s Road across the green to the gateway. The man who eventually designed the war memorial was Leonard Shuffrey, a local architect.

The building cost was roughly £1,500 and the carving of over 1,000 names cost several hundred pounds more. The four urns on the pedestals came from Elm Grove, the Ealing home of nineteenth-century prime minister Spencer Perceval. The inscription on the gate read ‘In Proud and Grateful Memory of the men of this borough who laid down their lives in the Great War of 1914-1918’.

The memorial was finally opened two years later. At the service of dedication, the memorial was handed officially over to the council. A story in the local paper declared ‘It should take the place in our local life that the Cenotaph in Whitehall occupies in our national life’ and it was envisaged that on Armistice Day each year, crowds would gather before the memorial to pay their respects.

We would like to thank Dr Jonathan Oates, borough archivist and local history librarian, for the use of his information.