Remembrance

Remembrance

The Cowdray Hall and War Memorial. Courtesy of Aberdeen City Libraries
Perhaps the most impressive war memorial in the region is that on Schoolhill in the centre of Aberdeen.

After the war settlements all over Britain built structures to commemorate those who had died in the conflict. Aberdeenshire was no different. A variety of notable approaches to commemoration can be seen throughout the region. Compare, for example, the granite Infantryman standing on a plinth in Inverurie’s Market Place and the large castellated tower on a hill above Culter.

Perhaps the most impressive war memorial in the region is that on Schoolhill in the centre of Aberdeen. The War Memorial and Cowdray Hall were constructed as extensions to the city’s Victorian art gallery. Opened by King George V and Queen Mary on 29th September 1925, the construction cost a total of £80,000. The cost of the War Memorial was raised by public subscription.

The large granite lion resting on a plinth in the concave exterior of the memorial was designed by an Aberdeen sculptor, William Macmillan RA (1877-1927). The work was carried out in Kemnay granite by James Philip, one of the foremost masons in the region. He was also responsible for the Infantryman statue in Inverurie. Philip worked in Arthur Taylor’s granite yard in Jute Street.

The War Memorial is a cenotaph, in the form of a Memorial Court or Hall of Remembrance and is "consecrated to the memory of those 5,000 of the city and district who gave their lives on land and sea 'that we might live'".

The shrine is of white and grey marble in a niche in the northern wall of the Memorial Court, directly opposite the entrance. It takes the form of a table on which is placed the Roll of Honour, printed on vellum, within glass. The table is supported by trusses decorated in Renaissance style. On either side are the Union Jack and White Ensign, representing Army and Navy, and in the centre is a laurel wreath in gilt bronze. During the opening ceremony the Roll of Honour was formally placed in the shrine by Peter Tocher, the father of five Gordon Highlanders who all died as a result of the conflict.