The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size Photo © John East
Photo © John East
Photo © John East

War memorials

Belgium: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Architect: Sir Reginald Blomfield
Owners: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Location: Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen

Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery is the second largest British war cemetery in Belgium, containing 9,877 graves. This is because it lay by a casualty clearing station, first established by the French at Remi Farm next door. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, with A.J.S. Hutton as Assistant Architect, and the lodge building is in Blomfield’s characteristic seventeenth century French Classical manner in red brick and stone. A design for a chapel at Lijssenthoek made by Blomfield in 1920 remained unexecuted. In discussing his work for the IWGC in his autobiography, Memoirs of an Architect (1932), Blomfield wrote that:

“What I feared was that from inexperience the young architects might indulge in elaborate sentimentalities, and I warned them that in regard to the design of buildings they could not be too simple and even austere, and that they would do well to take as their model of inspiration the manner of Vauban, the great engineer of Louis XIV, as shown in his forts and military stations. In regard to the lay-out of the grounds and planting, I advised them to follow the straightforward methods of the Formal Garden, with careful observance of the relative values of the expanses of grass in relation to the serried ranks of the white Portland headstones, all of which were to a uniform design. These suggestions were faithfully followed, and in conjunction with the skilled work of the garden staff, the Cemeteries designed by us for the Imperial War Graves Commission rank among the most memorable achievements of this century.”

Gavin Stamp

Commonwealth War Graves Commission


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