Mystery Memorial


From the Cozens Family Album


Feast your eyes, folks, then see if you can help me out here. This is from Harriet Cozens (if you recall, she is the great, great granddaughter of Henry Richardson, the author of Greenwich: Its History, Antiquities, Improvements and Public Buildings.

The picture is of, as you can see, of the unveiling of a memorial, which Harriet tells me is in he Greenwich section of the album – but I have no idea where or what it is. However much I increase the size on the picture, the words always break up before I can read any of them. 

It’s that ivy-covered wall (or hill) behind it that gets me – I can’t think of a cemetery, park or open space that looks like that. The costume of the people is clearly late Victorian o, more likely, Edwardian (Boer War, perhaps?) and, I assume, one of the Richardson family attended the ceremony – a big deal, with a little stage and lots of bigwigs.

So, guys, – any ideas?

the attachments to this post:

From the Cozens Family Album
Memorial Unveiling cozens low

20 Comments to “Mystery Memorial”

  1. Richard says:

    It could be anywhere. the foliage in the background might just be thick bushes and the obelisk might be a gravestone, a memorial or an eye catcher (such as in a park). There’s no reason to suppose it still exists or was even intended to be permanent. Sorry this is not much help.

  2. Andrew says:

    Is it somewhere down by Trinity Hospital?

  3. meirion says:

    Looks a bit like St Margarets, Lee, churchyard where Halley is buried – which is worth visiting anyhow – since it has that Thirteenth Century tower in it – probably the oldest structure above ground in the whole Greenwich/Blackheath/Lewisham area unless anyone knows better.

  4. P & D says:

    Look at the gent on the left of the obelisk pulling the cover down. He’s dressed very much like the veterans at The Chelsea Hospital (day uniform) and would appear to have insignia on his collar. I dont think he’s police (wrong headdress) but could he be train staff? Was the Greenwich Hospital still in operation and he be one of these residents? Hmmm…..

  5. Benedict says:

    I thought maybe The Dwarf Orchard/Secret Garden , but thwall/plants look too high so maybe the Other secret garden below the Observatory…..although I cant recall ever seeing it…..sorry not much use either, but a fun game !

  6. Stephanie says:

    Having just had a random conversation about the disused Greenwich Park Station with my work collegues – it strikes me that this looks like it could be in a railway cutting – possibly a memorial to dead workers of the first world war – though the costumes don’t seem to match.

  7. cerletone says:

    I don’t think that’s a wall, I think it’s a cliff and this isn’t Greenwich at all, but some seaside town.

  8. cerletone says:

    I’m no Sandy Powell, but I’d say the hats and dresses the women are wearing would date from 1905-1915. At least that’s what some of my super sleuthing has lead me to believe:


  9. Joe F says:

    I think that the memorial looks like it maight be the Boer War memorial at Tonbridge, when compared to the photos at The background foliage appears to have been pruned away in the modern photos revealing what I guess is some wall from Tonbridge Castle (?).

  10. Robert Number 16 says:

    Dear Phantom.
    Not a clue I`M afraid.
    Robert from Sunny Malta (Wonder if I will get back to Greenwich with the current situation)

  11. Kate says:

    Id say it definitely wasnt a wall. it looks far too organic. I cant particularly think of anywhere in Greenwich that substantially ‘hilly’ aside from the infamous Greenwich caves at the back of Maidenstone Hill/Point Hill. Though why there should be a memorial/cenotaph type thing there I have no idea.

    My best bet is that Mr/Mrs Cozens went for a day trip to somewhere and took this splendidly Edwardian photo as a reminder.

  12. Steven says:

    I too think that it is the little garden beneath the Observatory, where they do the shakespearian thesping about in the summer.

  13. dawn oconnor says:

    could it be this i wonder?

    maybe the wall or whatever it was has since been demolished?

  14. Stephen says:

    “I think that the memorial looks like it maight be the Boer War memorial at Tonbridge”

    It must that, well done Joe.

  15. P & D says:

    The Tonbridge connection works. This is the same memorial today,

  16. Kate says:

    Oh mystery solved! How lovely to see it past and present.

  17. Stephen says:

    Here it is in relation to the castle and wall. Click on the photo for a larger version.

  18. Jeremy says:

    Well done everyone! I hope The Phantom is proud…

    I’m now planning a trip to Tonbridge.

  19. Blimey – fantastic detective work, folks! Now I want to know what it’s doing in the Greenwich part of the album! I guess if Mr and Mrs Richardson/Cozens were invited to such a swanky shindig they’d be proud to take a picture to commemorate it!