Greetings from Berkshire!
Today’s card shows the war memorial at the University of Reading.
In 1919 the then Principal of University College Reading, William Macbride Childs, argued that a permanent memorial should be created at the University College, commemorating the losses of World War 1.
The design chosen was by Herbert James Maryon, who taught sculpture at the University. Maryon would later find fame as the conservator of the Sutton Hoo ship burial finds, including his restoration of the shield and the iconic helmet. (Yes, it is iconic. Google it and tell me you don’t instantly recognise it.)
The initial plans were for a 120-foot-tall tower, but sufficient funds could not be raised and in 1923 Maryon revised the plans, bringing the height of the tower down to 60 feet. There was enough money for this, and construction began in November 1923.
The memorial was dedicated on 7 June 1924. Principal Child’s address opened as follows:
More than two thousand years ago, a chosen band of warriors left their native city in order to withstand the myriad hosts of an oriental invader. In number they were few, but in their firm ranks they carried with them the hopes and the fears of the Greek race, and the destiny of mankind. They met the invader in a narrow pass; and there, after long resistance, they perished to a man. Their valour astonished the Persian tyrant, and was, indeed, the prelude to his defeat. Afterwards a stone was set upon the place where these men fell, and it bore this inscription:
Go, stranger, and tell the people of Lacedaemon that we lie here, obedient to their word
Initially the memorial carried the named of 41 members of the University College who died in that war. There are now 140 names from that war listed, as well as names from the second world war, and the twenty-first century war in Afghanistan.