Post-1945 war memorials

I’m bound to draw attention here to my own article on the Church of England and war memorials after 1945, which is now available online (to subscribing libraries), ahead of print publication in the Forum for Modern Language Studies. I’ve tried to explore the debates that took place between planners, artists, architects and clergy between 1940 and 1947, and the differing emphases on beauty and utility. Despite the relatively small number of new memorials that were actually built, there seems to have been a much livelier debate than was often supposed; the question was not at all settled in favour of new village halls or social clubs, and against new lumps of ‘useless’ carved stone. It also in passing suggests that the war had not been a straight-forwardly ‘secularising’ influence on elite discourse.

The next stage in the enquiry is to conduct some local research into the processes by which the advice coming from the ‘establishment’ is received and enacted or ignored at a local level. I shall be presenting some initial findings from Sussex to the IHR Locality and Region seminar at the beginning of May.

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