Allegories of Army, Navy, Air Force and Womens' Services
Type Statue , War Memorial
The harmony and poise of Toft's monumental and idealised figures, semi-nude and classically draped, complement the classical proportions of the octagonally shaped Hall. In 1926 a critic wrote 'it can truthfully be said that the sculpture is in harmony with the spirit of the architecture. Neither is violent, extravagant or small in its parts.'(1) The statues stand on pedestals of Cornish granite which also forms the base of the building.
In a competition of 1920, designs for the memorial were invited from Birmingham architects and in November 1921 the winners, S.N. Cooke and W.N. Twist of Paradise Street, were announced.(3) In 1922 their building plans were passed and these clearly show provision for the four statues, although no indication of their nature is given.(4) The completed Hall of Memory, costing £60,000 paid wholly by public subscription, was officially opened on 4th July 1925 by HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught.
These allegorical statues of the services were designed as an integral part of the Hall of Memory, erected to commemorate the deaths of 12,320 citizens in the Great War.(2)
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