Memorial details

Memorial type
West Midlands
Peace and Anti-War memorials
  • Opened
    Date: 02/12/1992
    Attended by: Rt Revd. Mark Santer, Bishop of Birmingham and Mr Jack Jones, former General Secretary, Transport & General Workers Union
Not lost
WM Reference

Support IWM

Donate with Just Giving

Any gift we receive makes a vital contribution to our ongoing work, from conserving our collection to supporting our public programme.

Current location

Birmingham Peace Garden
St Thomas Churchyard
Bath Row/ Granville Street/ Washington Street
West Midlands
B1 1JX

OS Grid Ref: SP 06485 86183
Denomination: Undefined

View location on Google Maps
Garden created on the site of St Thomas' Church, incorporating the remains of the building left after it was bombed in December 1940 and the Portland stone Doric loggia which was part of the Garden of Remembrance attached to the Hall of Memory in Broad Street (WMR 2049). A stone on the loggia carries an inscription giving its history. On these two structures and the rear entrance steps a set of twenty-one plaques carry messages of peace from cities around the world and from the major religious faiths and the humanists. The plaques are steel frames bearing gilded doves of peace against a stylised landscape with the moon and sun to their left and right in relief. The messages are cut in relief on the faces of wooden boards - some of those in the open air have weathered badly and their messages are lost - two are missing their inscriptions entirely. The history of the church and of the creation of the Peace Garden are described on larger plaques within the ruins of the church. There also eleven other memorials on the walls of the church and the loggia and in the gardens, which are the subjects of separate records. A black-painted steel fence bearing silhouettes depicting symbols of war and peace surrounds the garden.
Plaque 1: ST THOMAS'S CHURCH/ THE BEGINING/ A contemporary illustration of St Thomas's shows the imposing building with/ Chipman's Windmill at Holloway Head in the distance. The church was/ designed by Architects Rickman and Hutchinson. Inspired by the classical/ buildings of ancient Greece. The foundation stone was laid by/ the Bishop of Worcester on 22 October 1829. It cost/ His Majesty's Commission over £14,000 to build./ Serving the growing community between Holloway Head and Five Ways, the/ church could accommodate over 2000 people. Social responsibilities to its/ parishioners were taken seriously and clubs were establised in the 1830s/ for sick pay, medical attendance and life assurance. The church played a part in the political upheavals of the period and was the site of a protest/ aimed at electoral reform and led by Chartists. During this proteast, on/ 4 July 1839, the railings were uprooted and used as missiles. Plaque 2: ST THOMAS'S CHURCH/ VICTIM OF WORLD WAR II/ The present ruin of St Thomas's church is the result of severe bombing during/ World War II. The raid in December 1940 lasted from nightfall to dawn, the/ hands of the clock showed that the church received a direct strike at 7.25 pm/ All that remained was the church tower. Many of the Church treasures were/ salvaged from the debris by Earnest Mason, a dedicated member of the/ congrgation. In 1941 the site was p`urchased by the corporation and the/ following year designated a public open space. In 1953 the area was turned/ into a garden to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Plaque 3: ST THOMAS' CHURCH/ TESTIMONY OF PEACE/ St Thomas' church now has a new lease of life as part of the Garden of Peace./ The idea for a memorial of peace came from Dawn Blake, Donna Reynolds/ and Emma Spence - three ex-students of Lea Mason Church of England/ Secondary School. The Garden designs were developed through/ Birmingham City Council's Landscape Practice Group and artist Anurhada/ Patel. Anurhada worked with students of Lea Mason School developing/ designs for railings, gates, and plaques. The gate in Granville Street is/ entirely given over to the students' designs. The imagery embraces/ peace in very broad terms; peace in contrast o war, racial equality and/ ecological concerns. Many of the groups involved in the scheme/ contributed messages of peace for plaques in the garden;/ messages have also been gathered from around the world. Plaque 4: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS/ St Thomas's Peace Garden was designed by The Landscape/Practice Group for Birmingham City Council Leisure Services/ Committee, in conjunction with the artist Anurhada Patel/ and students from the Lea Mason School./ The project was funded by Birmingham City Council with/ financial assistance from the European Regional/ Development Fund, West Midlands Arts and the Junior/ Chamber Chamber of Commerce in Birmingham, Frankfort and Tokyo. St Thomas's Peace garden was officially opened on/ 2nd December 1992 by the Rt Reverend Mark Santer, Bishop of/ Birmingham and Mr Jack Jones, former General Secretary of the/ Transport and General Workers Union. Birmingham City Council wish to extend their thanks to the/ following groups who contributed to the scheme:/ Access for All, Birmingham's Interfaith Council, Ex Servicemen's/ Association, International Brigade Association, Junior Chamber/ of Commerce in Argentina, Bangldesh, Birmingham, Budapest,/ France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Russia, Sweden and/ Yugoslavia, the staff and pupils of the Lea Mason School/ Nautical Club, Public Art Commission Agency,/ the Rt Reverand Mark Santer, Bishop of Birmingham/ and the St Thomas's Old Scholars Association. There are seven plaques bearing messages of peace from the following religious faiths: Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Baha'i, Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh. There is a message from the Humanists. There are eleven plaques bearing messages of peace from around the world: St Thomas' Church of England Old Scholars Association, Frankfurt, Bangladesh, Zaporozhie, Milan, Sweden, Budapest, Lyon, Nairobi, Sicily, and Zagreb. Inscription on the Doric loggia which forms the North side of the Garden: Constructed 1925/ in Broad Street/ Garden of Remembrance/ Re-erected here 1990
Inscription legible?
  • Peace and Anti-War memorials
    Total names on memorial: 0
    Served and returned: 0
    Died: 0
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: Undefined
    Order of information: Undefined
  • Garden
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Undefined
  • Colonnade
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
  • Church
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone - Sandstone
Listing information
Trust fund/Scholarship
Purpose: Unknown or N/A
Birmingham City Council

This record comprises all information held by IWM’s War Memorials Register for this memorial. Where we hold a names list for the memorial, this information will be displayed on the memorial record. Please check back as we are adding more names to the database.

This information is made available under a Creative Commons BY-NC licence.

This means you may reuse it for non-commercial purposes only and must attribute it to us using the following statement:

© WMR-38693

For queries, please contact [email protected].