The Twentieth Century Society

War Memorials

London: Memorial at St Michael Cornhill

Architect: Richard Reginald Goulden (Sculptor), A.B. Burton of Thames Ditton (Founder)
Location: Cornhill, London

The memorial uses the church’s namesake as the central figure. The Archangel St Michael stands poised as in victory, holding a flaming sword. To the left, a contorted cat-like beast bites another, symbolising war. The Builder noted that they slid ‘slowly, but surely, from their previous paramount position. Life, in the shape of young children, rises with increased confidence under the protection of the champion of right’ (1920). Goulden was also responsible for a memorial in the Garden Court at the Bank of London (sadly inaccessible to the general public except on Open House weekends), where he used the figure of St Christopher (after the former churchyard of St Christopher-le-Stocks on the site). The narrative also expressed the collective journey of the nation in reaching victory, Goulden stating ‘perhaps no age or people has better shown the spirit of St Christopher than our own’.

Goulden studied at the Royal College and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. He enlisted in the Royal Engineers in 1914, but made invalid in 1916. He also designed war memorials at Kingston upon Thames, Reigate and Crompton.

Jon Wright & Joanna Moore