St Bride's: News

A moving and poignant tribute to the fallen in the Great War

ww1_wall_hanging_1.jpgVery shortly, this and other nations will be remembering the outbreak of the first World War on August 4th, 1914.

The Great War, as it was to become known, was also described as being the war to end all wars. It proved to be four years of total devastation. Nearly one million warriors from Britain lost their lives - many of them on the opening day, and in all, more than three million became casualties.

St Bride's Church in the heart of the City of London, was close to victims and their families, along with churches and cathedrals throughout the country.

The lost ones of World War I are frequently remembered in Wren's famous church, not only by those who worship there, but also pilgrims from across the globe.

ww1_wall_hanging_2.jpgNow, as commemoration time is here, St Bride's demonstrates its gratefulness for those who fought for freedom and shows, in an act of utter simplicity and poignancy, that memories of those dark and evil days will never be forgotten. But more importantly, by creating a series of squares which illustrate aspects of the war, St Bride's offers peace and hope for the future.

Each square forms  part of a rectangular display, like a sort of tapestry. 

One sees bits of tangled barbed wire, fields of utter chaos, appalling slaughter and wounded soldiers.

But the poppies and the doves stand out as a beacon of hope and of peace. 

These are simple demonstrations of saying thank you to the fallen and each square has been crafted or painted with the utmost feeling and indebtedness.

The result is a moving, evocative commemoration in a church which has seen fun and pathos down the centuries.

Some squares are quite simple while others are more intricate.

One square was produced by a lady in Sheffield who saw a poster asking for volunteers to contribute to the work when she was visiting. Her square is dedicated to the many horses that died in the war.

Another person has created a square which incorporates the original ribbon from her grandfather's medals. She has had them 're-ribboned' for her children.

A Fleet Street lawyer has hand embroidered a poppy and there are two printed squares with carrier pigeons on them.

One square mentions 'Uncle Fred.' There are about 150 names appearing, including those from the Rothermere Chapel of Associated Press employees who died in the war.

Some participants have produced cardboard collages, applique, embroidery, knitting and crochet, acrylic paints, screen prints, computer generated images printed onto calico by home printers, all sorts of techniques. It began with poppies and doves but people have interpreted that theme in so many ways.

It has proved to be a real community project and people of all abilities have contributed.

This work will add to and enhance the glorious history of St Bride's and we thank God for all those who took part in it, as well as those responsible for seeing the project through from start to finish.

The commemorative wall hanging will be on display at the West End of the church  until after the annual Act of Remembrance on Sunday 9th November when the choir and orchestra of St Bride's will perform Requiem by Duruflé.

Contributors are invited to write in a catalogue of the images if they want to expand on the stories behind their work.

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