Woodland Trust WW1 Centenary Project
As part of the Woodland Trust WW1 centenary project at Langley Vale, Epsom, Surrey, Society Fellow Andrew Lapthorn was commissioned by the Woodland Trust to design and build a memorial to the 14 British warships along with the lives of 5666 crew members whose lives were lost at the Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June 1916. It was the last major battle in world history fought primarily by battleships.
The project was three years in the planning but was worth it as can be seen.
Made from FSC certified English oak , steel and glass the memorial comprises of 14 markers each standing 2.4 metres high. Each marker represents one of the ships lost on the night and is inscribed with the name of the ship, the date it was built, the number of survivors and the number of lives lost.
Depending on the time of day and the light conditions, the etching of the porthole glass memorialising those lives lost appear either evanescent or illuminated. It is these etchings which hint at memory fading with the passage of time while in the same moment compelling you not to forget.
They were constructed using traditional shipwrighting techniques. Installed in an 8 acre field on a hillside with an oak tree planted between each marker, the field has been planted out as a wild flower meadow along with 45,000 trees.
The gently curving avenue of markers and trees leads up to a clearing on top of the hill where there are a pair of bench seats which Andrew also made as part of the commission, as a place for rest and reflection.
Maritime connections can be seen in the rising profile of the markers, symbolising the curve of a hull, the crest of a wave, the shape of a funnel. Pointing skywards they are a salute to those who lost their lives. To see more of Andrew’s work please visit his maker page on our website: Andrew Lapthorn