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London
The Cenotaph
Whitehall
London  SW1A 2AA
TfL Fare Zone 1
 
 
 
Situated in the middle of the road in Whitehall is the Cenotaph - the premier national war memorial. It is a memorial to all those who have lost their lives in service to their country during time of war.
 
July 1919 Victory Parade
The story behind the memorial is an interesting one. In July 1919 the first Allied Victory Parade was being held in London. Similar celebrations were going to be held in France around the same time and a large structure was being erected as a focus for the celebrations. The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George asked Sir Edwin Lutyens to design a structure as a focus for the Allied Troops to march past and salute, but it had to be done in a hurry.
 
In two weeks Sir Edwin Lutyens designed a simple Cenotaph. Built out of wood and plaster the cenotaph was hastily erected in Whitehall. On 19 July 1919 a successful Victory Parade was held with fifteen thousand Allied soldiers, together with the Allied leaders such as Haig, Foch and Pershing, marching past in silence, saluting the dead.
 
There was an overwhelming public response to the temporary structure with wreaths and flowers being piled high around its base. The Press and public called for Lutyens' structure to be made permanent in stone and the Government acquiesced.
 
The date and time that hostilities had ceased ending World War I (11:00 hours on 11 November), was chosen as the date in 1920 for the unveiling of the permanent Cenotaph. At the same time as the unveiling, the body of an Unknown Warrior passed by for re-burial at Westminster Abbey.
 
A few steps lead up to the simple, rectangular, Portland stone memorial. The simple inscription merely says “The Glorious Dead”.
 
Rememberance or Armistice Day
On 11 November each year at 11:00 hours a short Service of Dedication is held. The Queen, principal Members of Parliament, Commonwealth Governments, the Armed Forces and the Churches attend the service which is preceded by the Two Minutes’ Silence and official wreath laying.
 
Getting There
To find the best way for getting to The Cenotaph, visit TfL Journey Planner, link above.
 
- By Underground
Westminster Station      District, Circle & Jubilee Lines
Charing Cross Station    Bakerloo & Northern Lines 
 
- By Bus
Bus Routes – 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 77A, 88 and 159 between Trafalgar Square and Westminster. We suggest that you visit the Transport for London website above and use their 'Journey Planner'
 
- By Open Top Tour Bus
Do not forget that Visitors can use their ‘Open Top’ sightseeing bus ticket to visit The Cenotaph, the 10 Downing Street complex, Horse Guards, The Banqueting House and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben precinct.
 
- By Walking
The Cenotaph can be easily reached by a short walk down Whitehall from Westminster Underground Station (and The Houses of Parliament) towards Trafalgar Square. On the left are the iron railings sealing off Dowling Street and Number 10. The Cenotaph in the centre of the Whitehall.
 
Just past the Cenotaph and 10 Downing Street is the Whitehall street entrance to Horse Guards and opposite is The Banqueting House.
 
All in all, an interesting walk.

Google Maps - The Cenotaph