Lutyens was first approached informally by Sir Alfred Mond, First Commissioner of Works in Lloyd George's government in
June 1919, to design a monument to mark the signing of the Peace Treaty with Germany. Following discussions with Clemenceau and the Peace
Celebrations Committee, Lloyd George met Lutyens in early July 1919 and asked him to design a catafalque for Whitehall, to be part of the
Peace Day events on 19th July. Lutyens' alternative suggestion of a cenotaph was agreed. Later that day Lutyens presented drawings to Sir
Frank Baines, based on his previous design for Mond.
The final design was based on measurements of the Parthenon. In the classical manner, all the surfaces were subtly curved; the verticals
would meet at a point 1000 feet above the ground and the horizontals, 900 feet to the side. Stripped of all literal elements (at Lutyens
insistence four soldiers at the base were not included), the simplicity and dignity of the monument became the immediate focus for national
The wood and plaster structure was unveiled on 18th July and was originally intended to stand for a week. Its extraordinary popularity
extended this to January 1920 when the weather finally forced its removal. In the meantime, this design, slightly revised from the
original, was accepted by the Cabinet for a permanent memorial, again sited in Whitehall and unveiled on Armistice Day, 1920. The Cenotaph
remains the central focus of remembrance.