Manual Ref* NFnrNOR105 Show 11 images 289

Monument to Edith Cavell

County Norfolk   District Council Norwich City Council 
Civil Parish or equivalent Norwich  Town/Village* Norwich - Cathedral Close 
Road Tombland 
Precise Location Tombland besides Erpingham Gate 
OS Grid Ref TG234087  Postcode NR3 
Previous location(s) On roundabout in front of Maids Head Hotel moved 1993 
Setting Roadside  Access Public 
Artist/Maker Role Qualifier
Henry Pegram  Sculptor(s)   

Commissioned by

Public subscription 

Design & Constrn period

1915, construction 1918 

Date of installing


Exact date of unveiling

12 October 1918 by Queen Alexandra 


Abstract Animal Architectural
Commercial Commemorative Composite
Free Functional Funerary
Heraldic Military Natural
Non-Commemorative Performance Portable
Religious Roadside, Wayside Sculptural
Temporary, Mobile Other  

Object Type

Building Clock Tower Architectural
Coat of Arms Cross Fountain
Landscape Marker Medallion
Mural Panel Readymade
Relief Shaft Sculpture
Statue Street Furniture War Memorial
Other Object Sub Type: World War I Memorial to Edith Cavell

Subject Type

Allegorical Mythological Pictorial
Figurative Non-figurative Portrait
Still-life Symbolic Other

Subject Sub Type

Bust Equestrian Full-length
Group Head Reclining
Seated Standing Torso
Part Material Dimension
Portrait Bust  Bronze  H. 70 cms W. 30 cms 
Plinth  White stone  H. 2 metres 44 cms W. (at base) D. 30 cms 
Base  Stone  H. 66 cms W. 1 metre 10 cms.D. 60 cms. 

Work is

Extant Not Sited Lost


Norwich City Council 

Listing status

Grade I Grade II* Grade II Don't Know Not Listed

Surface Condition

Corrosion, Deterioration Accretions
Bird Guano Abrasions, cracks, splits
Biological growth Spalling, crumbling
Metallic staining Previous treatments
Detail: Monument cleaned by NPS 2013-2014, see below under Description (physical)

Structural Condition

Armature exposed Broken or missing parts
Replaced parts Loose elements
Cracks, splits, breaks, holes Spalling, crumbling
Water collection Other


Graffiti Structural damage Surface Damage

Overall condition

Good Fair Poor


No Known Risk At Risk Immediate
Signatures/Marks Right side on stone plinth and on base of bust: HENRY PEGRAM SC 1918 

Description (physical)

The bronze bust of Edith Cavell, which shows her in nurse's uniform, must be based on contemporary photographs. It is placed on top of a stepped stone pyramidic plinth with a soldier holding a rifle in his rear hand and stretching forward and up to present a wreath - one of two - to Edith Cavell. Restored in 2014; the bust was given a light steam clean and then heated, waxed and buffed. A poultice was applied to the the stonework, where it was badly stained by verdigris. (Information from Stephen Brown, Senior Building Surveyor Norwich Property Services). Much of the verdigris has been removed, but there are still stains,especially at the sides and between the wreaths. Moreover the cleaning highlights the unfortunate discrepancy between the badly worn stone and the much better preserved bronze. Stephen Brown has noted that although some of the staining could not be drawn out, it has now been stabilised since in future the bronzes will be cleaned regularly. 

Description (iconographical)

At the unveiling of the monument the Eastern Daily Press noted that it fronted the Cavell Home for District Nurses, shown in George Plunkett's 1936 photograph as no 20 Tombland. The Georgian house at the start of Place street, was later incorporated into the Maid's Head Hotel, when the elegant doorway was moved to east of the building ( 20 Cavell House [0997] 1936-06-10.jpg) Pegram produced a small two part plaster maquette, overall around 40 cm high. It has long been housed in the Strangers Hall Museum, and has just returned from conservation. Worked with his fingers, clearly seen on the bust and around the back it established the overall design of the full length soldier presenting set against the plinth presenting wreaths to the bust above. This drew on developments in the 1890s in Jules Dalou’s exuberant Monument to Delacroix, set in a fountain in the Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris, and in Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud's Bristowe Memorial Drinking Fountain, unveiled in Brockwell Park, Herne Hill in 1893 (demolished in 1958), which Pegram would certainly have known. In the Bristowe Fountain the pose of the nymph, reaching out with her right arm to present the bay leaf to the bust of Thomas Lynn Bristowe, anticipates that of Pegram's soldier. The key differences in the finished work are in the bust, worked out with greater precision showing her wearing a smaller nurses' hat, still tied in a bow under her chin, and the uniform is less fussy and the buttons less prominent. Nothing is known of the commission, which must have been given to Pegram in the light of the Statue to Sir Thomas Browne, but it must have been initiated late in 1915, the only year that Gordon Munn (cited on the base) was Lord Mayor, but work was delayed until after the armistice. Like the statue at St Martin’s Place, London, it must have been a response to the initiative of the Daily Telegraph, which, following her death had suggested a memorial. This was taken up by the City of Westminster and George Frampton , who offered his services as sculptor, for the statue which was unveiled in March 1920. Edith Cavell had worked as a Red Cross nurse in Brussels where she was executed by the Germans on 12th October 1915 for helping Britons to escape. Her execution by firing-squad in 1915 received world-wide press coverage and her final words ‘Standing, as I do, in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone’ were reported in the Times on 25th October ensuring that her execution was a major propaganda disaster for Germany, encouraging many British and Commonwealth young men to sign up and resulting in the dedication of a mountain in Canada - first climbed in the year of her death - to Edith Cavell. On 13 May 1919 her body was exhumed and brought with full military honours from Tir National Cemetery in Belgium, where she had been shot, to London. After a memorial service at St Paul’s her body was carried in a special train to Norwich, where she was reburied at the Cathedral. Her simple and unadorned grave outside the east end of the Cathedral is still one of the most visited sites in the City. Rephotographed and revised 20/04/2014; maquette 05/11/2014 


Date taken:  15/5/2006
Date logged: 

Photographed by:
Sarah Cocke

On Site Inspection

Date:  15/6/2006

Inspected by:
Richard Cocke

Sources and References

Barnes Richard The Year of Public Sculpture Norfolk Kirstead 2001 38, monuments 15/05/06 Clarke-Kennedy A.E. Edith Cavell Pioneer Patriot London 1961 photo (not as nurse) opposite p. 96; Cavanagh, T., Public Sculpture of South London, Liverpool, 2007, 349-351 


Date entered:  16/2/2007

Data inputter:
Richard Cocke