Dedication service will unveil new memorial in Elephant & Castle

Dedication service will unveil new memorial in Elephant & Castle

A striking bronze memorial to those affected by war and conflict will be officially unveiled at Walworth Square in Elephant & Castle on Tuesday 27 November, at a special dedication ceremony.

The Southwark Memorial is the vision of Scottish sculptor and artist Kenny Hunter, who was commissioned to make the commemorative piece by Southwark Council, with support from Elephant Park developer Lendlease and the Contemporary Art Society.

The six-metre-long sculpture depicts a the anonymous figure of a youth standing on a giant, fallen ash tree, which is inscribed with a passage from a Second World War poem by Hamish Henderson: ‘Against the armour of the storm, I’ll hold my human barrier.’

The contemporary creation is London’s newest war memorial and its installation, in the year when the world marked the centenary of the end of the First World War, serves as a poignant reminder of the lives that have been affected by all wars and conflicts around the globe. It is the result of two years’ hard work and this special ceremony will complete the remembrance events that have been held across Southwark.

Located in the heart of Elephant & Castle, the Southwark Memorial has been installed in a horizontal position, enabling the public to get up close to it. Hunter hopes it can become an unsentimental image that is able to express human endurance and the persistence to keep going in difficult and traumatic circumstances.

Walworth Square is a new civic square, designed and built by Lendlease in partnership with the local community, that will connect Walworth Road with Sayer Street – the new street that forms part of the Elephant Park masterplan. Local residents and visitors are welcome to attend the dedication ceremony, opened by the Mayor of Southwark, which takes place from 10.45am on Tuesday 27 November.

Fabienne Nicholas, head of consultancy at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “We are immensely proud to see the Southwark Memorial now home in Walworth Square. The sculpture is not only a great work of contemporary public art, but it also offers a centre piece for local people to reflect on themes of war and conflict through a perspective of hope and looking to the future.”

Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “It is beyond important to remember the devastating impact wars and conflicts have on people, from those who make the ultimate sacrifice for their country, to the families they leave behind and the communities who are displaced, driven from their homes or living under the constant threat of attack.

 This memorial stands to commemorate all these, but also represents the optimism and hope that remains as we look towards a better future for our children. I am very proud to have this beautiful piece of artwork in the heart of the borough.”