DescriptionThis simple memorial, with a bronze figure of St. George on top of a Doric column, was constructed by Frank Johnson, a local builder. The statue was sculpted by Sir George Frampton RA, who is more widely known for his statue of Peter Pan and the memorial to Edith Cavell, both in London (Kensington Gardens and St Martin’s Place respectively).
St. George was a favourite subject of Frampton and appears on a number of war memorials with which he was involved, including the one at Hove (see November 2016), which is similar to Fordham.
There is no obvious connection between Lutyens and Fordham: the connection probably arose because of his work upon the Cenotaph but this is pure speculation.
The land upon which the memorial stands was donated to the village by a local resident, Mrs Dunn-Gardner who lived at Fordham Abbey. It was appropriate that she should therefore be asked to unveil the memorial, which took place on 7 August 1921.
In one of the morse bizarre art thefts of recent times the memorial was “ram raided” in June 1991 and, with the column laying in pieces on the ground, thieves made off with the bronze St. George which, presumably, was melted down for scrap. A fibreglass copy was made by a local sculptor, Ronald Donaldson from Yaxley, near Peterborough, and the memorial was rebuilt at a cost of £4,750. It was rededicated by the Lord Bishop of Ely on 19 July 1992. (Contributor: Tim Skelton)
The memorial comprises a Doric column of Portland stone, originally surmounted by a bronze statue of St George by Sir George Frampton RA and since the 1990s by a fibreglass replacement by Robert Donaldson. The column rises from a two-stage square plinth, itself set on a two-stage square base. Overall, the memorial is 6m tall. Inscriptions on the upper stage of the plinth read: (South): OUR/ GLORIOUS/ DEAD (West): MCMXIV (East): MCMXIX
The names of the fallen of both wars are inscribed on all four sides of the lower plinth. (Historic England, list entry 1331743)
In a garden on the n side of the main street (Carter Street), war memorial by Lutyens, 1921. Tuscan column with St George on top, a replica of 1992 of Frampton’s stolen figure. Lutyens used the same design at Hove, Sussex. (Bradley & Pevsner, 2014, p.541)
BibliographyHistoric England.Fordham War Memorial. [Online] Available from: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1331743
Also Cited InGliddon, G. and Skelton, T.J. (2008) Lutyens and the Great War. London: Frances Lincoln.
Pevsner, N.(1970) Cambridgeshire. The Buildings of England. London: Penguin.