Magna Carta: spaces of commemoration


Yesterday Alasdair Pinkerton, Nick Allen and I spent the day filming in nearby Runnymede meadow as part of a resource the University are creating to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. We actually use the site every year, particularly the American Bar Association’s commemorative memorial designed by Edward Maufe, and the JFK memorial next door, designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe, for a short field course/opener during welcome week for our new MSc students. The ABA memorial, built in 1957 and rededicated over the several decades, tells a particularly interesting story of cold-war antagonisms. The same is true for the JFK memorial, filled with symbolism and meaning from Jellicoe’s design, his walk and stairs from the woods ascending up to a slab of Portland Stone at the top.

Yesterday we focused on these spaces of commemoration and memorialisation, exploring the spatial cues, pushes and symbolism, but also signs of resistance and the after-life of these objects. Alasdair dug out a fascinating story of the JFK memorial as a site of protest against the war in Vietnam and the explosion that cracked the stone, almost in two, in 1968.

We Begin at the Lutyens gates:


Then head onto the meadow


And at the ABA memorial, Nick Allen is being filmed in the distance


Thanks also to Emm Johnstone and Anna Hamilton.



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