The Great War, memory and ritual : commemoration in the city and East London, 1916-1939


The Great War, memory and ritual : commemoration in the city and East London, 1916-1939

Mark Connelly

(Royal Historical Society studies in history new series)

Royal Historical Society, 2002

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Bibliography: p. 235-248

Includes indexes



The modern idea that the Great War was regarded as a futile waste of life by British society in the disillusioned 1920s and 1930s is here called into question by Mark Connelly. Through a detailed local study of a district containing a wide variety of religious, economic and social variations, he shows how both the survivors and the bereaved came to terms with the losses and implications of the Great War. His study illustrates the ways in which communities as diverse as the Irish Catholics of Wapping, the Jews of Stepney and the Presbyterian ex-patriate Scots of Ilford, thanks to the actions of the local agents of authority and influence - clergymen, rabbis, councillors, teachers and employers - shaped the memory of their dead and created a very definite history of the war. Close focus on the planning of, fund-raising for, and erection of war memorials expands to a wider examination of how those memorials became a focus for a continuing need to remember, particularly each year on Armistice Day. Dr MARK CONNELLY is Reuters Lecturer in Media History, University of Kent.


Introduction The City, East London and metropolitan Essex War shrines: the origins of the war memorials movement War memorials in places of worship: seeking solace in religion The alternative bonds of community: war memorials in placesof work, schools, colleges and clubs Civic war memorials: public pride and private grief Laying the foundations, 1919-1921 The years rich in imagery, 1922-1929 The years of flux, 1930-1935 Into battle, 1936-1939 The East End Jewish ex-service movement Epilogue Bibliography

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