11/11/1916 Britain’s street-side shrines to the fallen

The destructiveness of the war means that all across Europe there are few families who have not lost a loved one. In a spontaneous public commemoration of the fallen has begun. Roadside shrines have begun to appear, bedecked with flags and flowers, bearing the names of men from the area who have died and others who are still serving in the armed forces.

The shrines become a focus for communal mourning of the dead, an unusual religious commemoration that unites people of different faiths in a country where sectarian differences are still important. At the dedication of a shine in Bethnal Green, an Anglican bishop notes the presence of Jewish people from the area and delivers a blessing in Hebrew. Catholics too mix with their Protestant and Jewish neighbours at these shrines to their shared lost loved ones.

image sources:

Street shrine in East London (Friends of North Stoneham Park)

Street shrine in Hackney (Picturing the Great War: The First World War Blog from Mary Evans Picture Library)

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