The Landscape Guide

Merchant Seamen's Memorial Garden

The Marine and Navy Memorial on Tower Hill Memorial is dedicated to the merchant seamen of the two world wars. The 1914-1918 War Memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens. It has a vaulted corridor and characteristically inventive paving. The 1939-1945 memorial was designed by Edward Maufe and has stone steps descending into a sunken garden.

In front of the memorial is a significant place with a trivial design. It is the place where public executions were held near the Tower of London. One plaque records the deaths of: Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury (1381) Sir Robert Hales (1381) Simon de Burley (1388) 3rd Earl of Arundel (1397) Vicar of Deptford (1440) Earl of Oxford (1462) Earl of Worcester (1470) Sir William Stanley (1495) Baron Audley (1497) Earl of Warwick (1499) Duke of Buckingham (1521) Bishop of Rochester (1535) Sir Thomas More (1535) Lord Darcy (1537) - and 120 others. One is left wondering how the names on the plaques were selected - and how the space should be re-designed to look less like a detail from a 1960s shopping centre. It would be of interest to know the names of all of those who died and the offences with which they were charged. It could all be written inside a sculptural cage of rusting steel, just as the names of merchant seamen are inscribed on the raised and sunken memorials. A city needs grey space.

East of the Memorial (just visible in the top photograph and shown on the bottom photograph) is a sitting area with a large sundial designed by John Chitty, landscape architect and teacher at the University of Greenwich.


HOMEPAGE - Landscape Architecture London List

The memorial arcade (right) was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The chained area in the foreground marks the former execution site on Tower Hill.

The 1939-45 Memorial

The nearby sundial on Tower Hill was deigned by John Chitty of Austin-Smith:Lord.