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Memorial

Szabo mural Stockwell war memorial + mural

Mural: Szabo mural

Erection date: 14/10/1998

Inscription

Violette Szabo
1921 - 1945

Site: Stockwell war memorial + mural (5 memorials)

SW9, Stockwell Terrace

This triangle of land is all that remains of Stockwell Common.  From London Gardens online: "Now rather isolated amid heavy traffic, Stockwell Memorial Garden is a small triangular space surrounding a fine white stone WWI memorial. It was laid out c.1920 when the site at Stockwell Terrace was conveyed to Lambeth Borough Council. In 1928 it is described as having lawns and flower beds and 'very attractive'."

An on-site public information board provides the following three paragraphs:
"This site was originally part of South Lambeth Common, a large tract of open land belonging to the Manor of Vauxhall and owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  It was gradually enclosed, often illegally, by local tenants for keeping livestock at the beginning of the 19th century, until they were evicted and new restrictions were placed on enclosures or buildings.

These restrictions were lifted in 1843, and a local developer called John Notely bought up and developed much of the land for housing, but left behind a small piece of open space in front of Stockwell Terrace.  His successors passed it to Lambeth Borough Council in 1920 in order for it to be developed into a new war memorial garden.  A splendid stone memorial tower, originally commemorating men who died in the 1914 - 1918 War but since then including the dead of the Second World War, was built in 1922 and the rest of the site grassed over. 

At the centre of the site is a large ventilation shaft which serves the nearby Stockwell underground station.  Covering the external walls of this structure are murals commemorating those who fought and died in Two World Wars, including a memorial to Violette Szabo GC MBE (1921 - 1945), the famous Second World War heroine.  Originally born in Paris, she grew up and went to school in nearby Stockwell Road, before serving in the Special Operations Executive (SOE) until her capture and death in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.  The memorial gardens also contain the Bronze Woman Sculpture, which celebrates the many achievements of Black Caribbean and African women in Britain, and which was unveiled on October 8th 2008."

Naomi Klein, who has done extensive research on this memorial tells us that the information on this board is inaccurate. Lambeth are (2012) in the process of refreshing this memorial and the garden and have agreed to use Naomi's text for a new board. The reference to Stockwell residents lost in WW2 on the Szabo plaque seems a rather cheapskate memorial.

A label on the mural gives: "This mural was unveiled by 96 year old In-Pensioner A. E. Alexandre of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in the presence of Cllr. Daphne Hayes-Mojon, the Mayor of Lambeth, on 14 October 1998 - 80 years since the end of World War One. The mural is based on designs by pupils from Stockwell Park School and has been painted by Brian Barnes.  It was commissioned by the Stockwell Partnership - a multi-agency body working to improve the Stockwell neighbourhood."

In 2005 Brian Barnes who painted the original mural added a painting of Jean Charles de Menezes but the council quickly removed it.

Go to map of other memorials in this area

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Szabo mural

Information Subjects commemorated

48653

Violette Szabo, GC, CdeG

British secret agent in WW2. Born in Paris as Violette Bushell of a French mo...

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This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Szabo mural

Information Created by

50284

Brian Barnes

Mural painter. Our picture shows a 2011 unveiling and one of the men is Barne...

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This section lists the other memorials at the same location as the memorial on this page:
Szabo mural

Information Also at this site

52403

Stockwell War Memorial

The design of this Portland stone clock tower was chosen through competition ...

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52406

Szabo plaque

In memory of Violette Szabo GC and the Stockwell residents who gave their liv...

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52405

Windrush

Empire Windrush London

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