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South African War Memorial and Duncombe Place Memorial Garden
The South African War Memorial was installed in Duncombe Place in 1905 to commemorate the citizens of York who lost their lives during the Boer War (1899–1902).
It was designed in the 'gothic-revival' style by George Frederick Bodley (a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott) and is by far the most 'exhuberant' (ornate) war memorial in the city. Its carved stone decorations include statue forms of soldiers, soaring pinnacles, flying buttresses, a stone 'lantern' and a set of gargoyles.
A carved slate commemorative panel set into the base includes the following inscription (picked-out in gold):
REMEMBER THOSE LOYAL AND
GALLANT SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
OF THIS COUNTY OF YORK WHO
FELL FIGHTING FOR THEIR COUNTRY'S
HONOUR IN SOUTH AFRICA 1899 TO
1902 AND WHOSE NAMES ARE
INSCRIBED ON THIS CROSS ERECTED
BY THEIR FELLOW YORKSHIREMEN
The memorial is listed Grade II* (List Entry Number 1257874).
When it was first installed, it dominated Duncombe Place (which at that time was a large open space). However, the monument has since been completely overshadowed by the surrounding trees (which were planted in the 1950s when the Duncombe Place Memorial Garden was created).
Unfortunately, the garden now has a damp and gloomy feel for much of the year (due to its northwest aspect and the shade cast by the trees). However, this area does come into its own during extended periods of hot dry weather, when the garden becomes a cool green refuge from the heat of the surrounding streets.