Frank T. Dear
A virtually unknown local architect, Frank T. Dear, won the competition for Stockwell War Memorial. The design was selected by the Royal Academy War Memorials Committee and, according to the report in The Builder (26 March 1920, p 356), was the clear favourite.
The Builder also approved the design, commenting that the architect “has produced a stone tower of excellent proportion and refined detail, depending for its effect on good massing and simple lines. The general character of the design is Neo-Grec, but it is happily free from any of the heavy and aggressive qualities which spoil much of the work executed in this once so popular style.”
The competition brief specified the cost of the structure must not exceed £2,000 exclusive of the cost of the clock. Inevitably, the cost of construction exceeded that figure and the committee responsible for its erection had considerable difficulty raising the necessary subscriptions.
The tower, which is 45 feet high with a clock set on each face, is in Portland stone which a symbolical figure of Remembrance in reilef. As originally laid out the tower stood centrally on the green. The road to the north has been cut subsequently and the main roads on either side have been widened leaving the memorial somewhat marooned. To add to the bleakness, a ventilation/access shaft to the Stockwell Deep Shelter (now occupied by Security Archives Ltd.) was erected alongside. Within the chamber at the base of the tower are the names of the 570 men whose homes were within half a mile of the memorial. The memorial was unveiled by Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone on 3 May 1922.
The memorial stand on the last remaining vestige of the once very large South Lambeth Common.
Text taken from records in the archive at the Imperial War Museum
Sculptor. Based in London, working in first half of twentieth century. Works include Cain (1904), Immolate (1912), VAD Worker (1920), Stockwell War Memorial (1922) and Madonna and Child (St Stephen’s, Bournemouth). Clemens also sculpted the lions for the Government Pavilion, British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, 1923. He died 27 December 1957.
Sources: Bénézit, 1976; Royal Academy, 1985. [Man2004]