Friday, 30 June 2017 13:43

International Brigade Memorial in London

While much of the most regularly consulted material in our Spanish Collection is from the period of the Civil War and the years immediately following it, the collection also includes much more recent material. Among this material are papers relating to the creation of some of the many memorials around the United Kingdom which commemorate the sacrifice of the International Brigades. These include the papers of the International Brigade Memorial Appeal committee which was formed in 1983 to work towards establishing a national memorial to the International Brigades in time for the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War in 1986. 


Memorial Preliminary meetingUncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Letter from Bill Alexander, December 1983


The minutes of the newly formed International Brigade Memorial Appeal committee show how their work focused on three areas: fundraising to meet the cost of the memorial, identifying a suitable location for it to be erected and selecting a sculptor undertake the work. Twelve interested sculptors were requested to submit a maquette of their proposed design and, after deliberations, Ian Walters was selected to undertake the work.


Memorial in studio168

Uncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Members of the committee viewing the partially completed sculpture in Ian Walters' studio, c.1985


Extensive correspondence of the IBMA committee charts the progression of the sculpture and fundraising and preparations for the unveiling ceremony in Jubilee Gardens on London's Southbank on 5th October 1985. A band was found to perform at the ceremony and arrangements were made for former Labour leader Michael Foot to unveil the sculpture. 


Memorial Michael Foot letter166

Uncatalogued papers of the IBMA - Letter from Michael Foot, January 1985


The archive collection also includes many newspaper cuttings about the unveiling ceremony as well as photographs of the event - people who have visited the Library might recognise several of the Spanish Civil War Banners in our collection were also in attendance on the day.


Memorial unveiling photo169Memorial unveiling photo 2 170













Box A-14 A/1a - unveiling of the Southbank memorial, 5 October 1985




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