|Ilford War Memorial Gardens||Redbridge|
Ilford War Memorial Committee was established in November 1918 to create a suitable memorial to the men of Ilford who had died in WWI. Following a popular vote as to the form of war memorial, money was raised and a site purchased adjacent to the then Ilford Emergency Hospital for the Memorial Gardens, the erection of a memorial monument, and a new children's wing for the hospital to be entered through a Memorial Hall containing the names of the war dead. The monument with bronze statue of a soldier by N A Trent was unveiled in November 1922, the Hall and Children's Wing completed 5 years later. The memorial garden is laid out formally with rose beds in a cruciform shape, circular island beds set in the lawn, shrubbery areas, hedging and lines of lime trees. The Children's Wing was demolished after the closure of the hospital in 1993 but the neglected Memorial Hall was preserved and has since been restored.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2010
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The Ilford War Memorial Committee was established on 27 November 1918 in order to create a suitable memorial to the men of Ilford who had died in WWI. Money was raised through a public appeal with an initial donation made by Queen Alexandra; a plebiscite then led to 14,000 votes in favour of building a children's hospital incorporating a memorial. The chosen site was agricultural land adjacent to the then Ilford Emergency Hospital. The appeal eventually raised some £10,000, which was used to purchase the 2-acre site for the War Memorial Gardens (£800); to erect a memorial monument (£1,200); and to build a Children's Wing for the hospital and Memorial Hall (£8,000). The War Memorial was unveiled on 11 November 1922 by HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. It faces the entrance to the gardens on Eastern Avenue, which at that time was yet to be constructed, and consists of a bronze statue of a soldier by Newbury A. Trent (1885-1953), with a memorial tablet on a Portland stone plinth. An identical figure by Trent is also found at Tredegar in Gwent, dated 1924. The inscription was amended after WWII to commemorate ‘Men of the Town from the Great War and War of 1945-45’. A bronze plaque on a stone plinth near the western boundary of the garden commemorates the ex-cadets of the Ilford Wing, Air Training Corps who died in WWII, and rose beds have been dedicated in November 2000 by the Mayor of Redbridge Maureen Hoskins in memory of Redbridge's Civilian War Dead. Behind the memorial the garden is laid out formally with a cruciform rose bed and circular island beds set in the lawn, shrubbery areas in the north-east and north-west corners, hedges including yew, and lines of lime trees.
Following unveiling of the monument, it took another five years to complete the fund-raising and to build the Children's Wing and Memorial Hall, to designs of CJ Dawson & Allardyce. The foundation stone was laid on 6 November 1926 and the Memorial Hall and Children's Wing were formally opened on 25 June 1927 by Lady Patricia Ramsey, formerly Princess Patricia of Connaught. The Children's Wing was named the Walter Stevens Wing after the War Memorial Fund Committee Chairman. The Memorial Hall, a brick and stone building, octagonal in shape, with the names of the 1,159 Ilford men who had died in WWI inscribed inside, was designed to be an entrance to the Children's Wing to which there was a corridor link, but it was never used as such.
The hospital later became the King George V Hospital, which eventually closed in 1993, moving to Goodmayes. When the hospital site was put up for sale, provision was made for the War Memorial Hall to be excluded from any future development, and the building (and the War Memorial Monument in the Gardens) were added to the statutory list of buildings of architectural or historic interest in 1995. It was not possible to extend the listing to the Children's Wing, which was demolished in 2001. The hospital site was acquired by Bellway Homes for housing development, planning permission requiring restoration of the Hall to be paid for by the developers under an agreement with LB Redbridge. Following restoration in 2003/4 by Bellway Homes the Hall was transferred to the ownership of LB Redbridge. Following restoration, the Memorial Hall was transferred to LB Redbridge and re-dedicated on 15 August 2005.
The upkeep of the Hall and gardens are now safeguarded through the Ilford War Memorial Gardens Action Group, which was established in 2006, working in partnership with LB Redbridge Parks Department. A number of projects have been undertaken, including planting of spring bulbs and shrubs, installation of information panels, as well as opening the Hall on certain days. The garden won a Certificate of Merit for the most improved public garden in London in Bloom 2007 and in 2010 entered for a Green Flag Award. Plans for 2010 include planting a yew hedge on the boundary with the main road and improving the rose beds. The hospital site has now been redeveloped and there is an improved footpath alongside the gardens. The old brick and stone gate piers to the hospital can still be seen on the road frontage at Eastern Avenue.
Bridget Cherry, Charles O'Brien, Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 5: East', Yale University Press, 2005 p330; information panels of Ilford War Memorial Gardens Action Group available at Open House 2010; LB Redbridge, Ilford War Memorial Management Plan 2010-2015.