The Peace Parade

The First World War ended at 11.00am on November 11th 1918. But the ending of the war did not bring an automatic peace; peace negotiations at Versailles continued long into the following year.

By the spring of 1919, politicians began to turn their minds towards a celebration of the ending of the war. Lord Curzon, British Foreign Secretary at the time, and a lover of pomp and circumstance, suggested the idea of a Victory Celebration, to be held simultaneously in London and Paris. The celebration would include a march past, a thanksgiving service, events on the River Thames and a host of other popular festivities.

Prime Minister Lloyd George favoured something more austere but was persuaded by his Cabinet to go along with Curzon’s lavish ideas. The celebration was fixed for 19th July 1919. Lloyd George had been particularly taken by the French idea of having a parade past a memorial to all those who had died, and decided that London should have a similar focus point for the march past. So he invited the celebrated architect Sir Edward Lutyens to design a fitting monument for the event.