Sunday, September 20, 2015

The 'Peace Memorials' of Tavistock Square

1. The 'Hiroshima Tree' and memorial plaque. 
Planted by the Mayor of Camden on 6th August 1967 
2. The 'International Peace Tree' and memorial plaque.
Planted by the League of Jewish Women on 2nd July 1986
3. "Gandhi's Beech Tree" and memorial plaque.
This tree was planted in 1997, replacing  one planted in 1953
The original tree was presented by Indian P.M. Pandit Nerhu
4. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial 
Unveiled by British P.M. Harold Wilson on 17th May 1968
5. The International Conscientious Objectors memorial stone
Dedicated on 15th May 1994
(International Conscientious Objectors Day)
All the memorials seen in these photographs are found in Tavistock Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, London. The photographs were taken in September 2015.
 For additional information click on 'Comments' below.


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information
Introduction: Tavistock Square

Tavistock Square in the Bloomsbury district of London has traditionally been the medical, academic and literary quarter of the capital. For many years, Tavistock Square Gardens belonged to the estates of the Dukes of Bedford. In fact, its name, Tavistock Square, comes from the courtesy title of the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Bedford (the Marquess of Tavistock).

In the Victorian era, Charles Dickens lived nearby for several years (1851 – 1860). Then, in the first half of the 20th Century, many prominent members of the ‘Bloomsbury Group’ of intellectuals lived in the district: perhaps most notably Leonard and Virginia Woolf who had a house at No 52 Tavistock Square. There is a memorial to Virginia Woolf in one corner of Tavistock Square Gardens.

A number of buildings in the area were seriously damaged or completely destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War, including the former home of the Woolfs at 52 Tavistock Square. At the junction of Tavistock Square and Upper Woburn Place is a memorial to two A.F.S. Firemen who were killed as the result of enemy bombing in April 1941. To read an earlier article about this memorial click on the following link [here] .

Usually the square, and especially the gardens at its centre, is a peaceful place. Yet, on 7 July 2005 (7/7), the normal peace and tranquillity of Tavistock Square was broken when a double decker London bus was the target of a suicide bomber at Tavistock Square, close to the headquarters of the British Medical Association (B.M.A.). It was one of four suicide bombings that day (the other three were on the Underground). The Tavistock Square victims have since been remembered by a simple memorial listing their names outside the B.M.A. building on Upper Woburn Place.

In the Tavistock Square Gardens, as well as the aforementioned memorial for Virginia Woolf, at another corner there is a memorial for Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake (1865 – 1925). Dame Aldrich-Blake was a surgeon at the Elizabeth Garret Anderson Hospital (1895 – 1925), Dean of London’s Royal Free Hospital (1914 – 1925) as well as holding several other notable positions in the Medical profession.

Tavistock Square Gardens has long been the primary London location for a number of international peace associations which is reflected by some of the other memorials found there and described below. Following the bombings of 2005, the gardens were extensively restored with the support of the ‘Friends of Tavistock Square’. The restoration focused upon replanting in the perimeter area, re-turfing of several bare patches, a new cobbled stone area for events and commemorations and four completely new planted beds in partnership with the British Museum and the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The official re-opening of the gardens took place on 21 May 2011.

Sunday, 20 September, 2015  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

The Peace Memorials at Tavistock Square Gardens

Because of the many ‘peace’ memorials located in Tavistock Square Gardens, it is unofficially known as London’s ‘peace park’. The main peace memorials found here are as follows:

(1) The ‘Hiroshima Tree’ [Photograph No. 1]

Close to the north gate of the gardens is the ‘Hiroshima Tree’: in reality it is a flowering cherry tree. This tree was planted by the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Mrs Millie Miller, J.P. (later to become M.P. for Ilford North between October 1974 and her death in 1977).

The tree was planted in remembrance of the victims of the first Atomic Bomb, which was dropped at Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945. It was cultivated from a seed of a tree from Hiroshima.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (C.N.D.) had organised an annual ceremony in the park before the tree was planted. A ceremony continues to be held here on 6 August each year (Hiroshima Day).

(2) The International Peace Tree [Photograph No. 2]

The International Peace Tree is a field maple tree planted on 2 July 1986 by the League of Jewish Women to mark the International Year of Peace. It is found on the southern end of the gardens, beside the path leading to the Tavistock Hotel.

(3) Gandhi’s ‘Copper Beech Tree’ [Photograph No. 3]

In 1953 the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nerhu, planted a Copper Beech Tree in the gardens during a visit to see the proposed location of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Although the original tree has since died, a statue of the Mahatma was built (see No. 4 below). A replacement tree was planted and a new plaque unveiled by Dr. L.M. Singhvi, the High Commissioner of India, on 30 January 1997. It is the replacement tree and memorial plaque that can be seen in Photograph No. 3.

(4) The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial [Photograph No. 4]

In the centre of the gardens is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi by the sculptor Fredda Brilliant. The statue was unveiled on 17 May 1968 by the British Prime Minister at that time, Mr Harold Wilson, M.P.

Many visitors from all over the world come to the gardens to see this statue, especially adherents of the Hindu faith and other admirers of Gandhi’s teachings. Many regard Gandhi as the ‘father of India’ as he was instrumental in opposing British rule in the Indian sub-continent by non-violent means. While studying law, Gandhi had attended University College London not far from Tavistock Square.

(5) The International Conscientious Objectors Memorial Stone [Photograph No. 5]

By the north gate of the gardens and close to the ‘Hiroshoma Tree’ is the International Conscientious Objectors Stone. It was unveiled on 15 May 1994 (International Conscientious Objectors Day) by the President of the Peace Pledge Union, Sir Michael Tippett.

This stone memorial does not just remember the C.O.s of WW1 and WW2 but all C.O.s wherever they are in the world, as the dedication in the centre explains:
“To commemorate men & women Conscientious Objectors to military service, all over the world & in every age.
To all those who have established and are maintaining the right to refuse to kill. Their foresight and courage gives us hope.”

The Peace Pledge Union (P.P.U.) is a pacifist organisation which organises an annual event in the Tavistock Square Gardens on International Conscientious Objectors Day (15 May). Also, on Remembrance Sunday (November) supporters of the P.P.U. and Conscientious Objectors lay a wreath of white poppies at the memorial stone.

Further information about Tavistock Square

For more detailed information about the memorials in Tavistock Square Gardens on the Camden Borough website, click on the following link [here] .

Sunday, 20 September, 2015  

Post a Comment

<< Home