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Historical ‘tragedy’ as Golders Green war memorial could be demolished

PUBLISHED: 14:52 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 22 March 2017

The Clock Tower War Memorial was designed without a crucifix in 1923

The Clock Tower War Memorial was designed without a crucifix in 1923

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The Golders Green war memorial, designed without a crucifix because of the Jewish population in the area who had lost loved ones, could be knocked down and moved elsewhere.

The War Memorial has previously been the centre of anti-fascism demonstrations. Pictured: Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews organisations Hope Not Hate and the London Jewish Forum in 2015. Photo: Polly HancockThe War Memorial has previously been the centre of anti-fascism demonstrations. Pictured: Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews organisations Hope Not Hate and the London Jewish Forum in 2015. Photo: Polly Hancock

The Clock Tower War Memorial, unveiled in 1923, could be moved elsewhere to make way for a new road layout at Finchley Road and North End, as part of Transport for London’s (TfL) ideas to redevelop the station.

Oral historian Alan Dein said the proposal to knock down the central war memorial and place it elsewhere is “tragic.”

He told the Ham&High: “What makes this particular war memorial so significant locally is that by the time it was unveiled in 1923, the Golders Green area already had a growing Jewish community - many of whom would have lost family or friends in the carnage.

“Unlike so many WW1 war memorials around the world, the clock tower at Golders Green does not show the famous inscription 1914-1918 accompanied by a crucifix.

“Instead this special building shows a clock - a symbol of time moving on - and the inscriptions ‘Loyalty’, ‘Justice’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Honour’...”

“This tower is the symbol of Golders Green - a place where so many faiths live and pray side by side in the locality.”

A further plaque was added as a plinth commemorating the fallen of 1939-1945.

Barnet Council’s draft planning brief for the TfL plans states: “It should be noted that relocation of the War Memorial would amount to its demolition and reconstruction. Such a proposal would require listed building consent, authorised by the Secretary of State on the advice of Historic England.”

Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green said: “I would need some convincing that the relocation is a good idea…

“TfL failed to even advise me of their proposals and only agreed to meet after I contacted them.”

Cllr John Marshall added: “I’ve had a meeting with representatives from TfL and made it clear that if the war memorial is removed, it has to go in an equally prominent place.”

Cllrs Peter Zinkin and Shimon Ryde have called on the Mayor of London to work with residents to ensure a sympathetic redevelopment.

A Barnet Council spokeswoman said: “The council recognises the importance of the War Memorial and its location within the roundabout, and will seek to make sure any proposal from TfL considers the matter sensitively.”

Graeme Craig of TfL said: “We are in very early discussions with Barnet Council to explore what could be delivered in a way that is entirely sympathetic to the historic character of the area.”


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