Board of Trade WW1 Memorial

In the run up to Remembrance Day, we are featuring some of the War Memorial Studies we have recently added to the One Place Studies Directory.

The Board of Trade WW1 Memorial is rather unusual in several respects. Firstly the memorial is not in a village or town where the majority of those named actually lived, worked or are buried. Secondly it has moved locations. And, rather sadly, the original memorial was lost and never found.

Back in 1914 the Board of Trade employed around 7,500 staff, with nearly two-thirds engaged on labour issues, mostly staffing the new labour exchanges.

During the course of the First World War, over 2,000 members of staff joined the forces. Of these, 305 were killed in action or died as a result of the conflict.

After the war, on the initiative of the staff, a memorial fund funded by staff subscription was established. Further appeals were needed after McGregor’s Bank, which held the memorial fund, collapsed. The planned all-bronze memorial was replaced by a bronze plaque within a wooden frame.

The resulting Board of Trade War Memorial was sited in the West Entrance of the Board of Trade’s headquarters at Great George Street, London SW1. It was unveiled on 19 December 1923 by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, a former Board President. 

An image of the original memorial

Sadly the original memorial was lost at some stage in the Board’s history, possibly as far back as the late 1930s. Despite extensive searches during the 1980s and 1990s it has never been found.

A replacement Board of Trade WW1 Memorial (pictured below) was unveiled on 11 November 2002 in the Department for Trade and Industry headquarters at 1 Victoria Street, London SW1. In 2017 it was relocated to the Business Lounge in the Department of International Trade at 3 Whitehall Place London SW1 and rededicated there on 9 November  2017.

Board of Trade War Memorial WW1
© Richard MacDonald-Webb (WMR-53617)

The study website aims to be “as informative as possible for the general public, local school children, current civil servants, relatives of those who died and anyone else interested in the history of WW1 and the history of the Board of Trade”. The study website is the result of many hours of painstaking research by the War Memorial Research Group.

Each person named on the memorial has a link to a page where further information can be found. Some links are to the research group’s pages on the former DTI website (now archived by the National Archives). As new information comes to light, research is republished on the new website. The research group also maintain a public Ancestry Tree where further information can be found.

The website also has an interactive map that shows where all the men came from and also where they are known to be buried or remembered.

Home locations and burial/memorial locations.
Click on image to go to interactive map on study website

There is also a calendar that records the specific dates on which all of the men listed on the memorial died alongside other significant dates during WW1.

Learn more by visiting the study website now!