The Norwich Roll of Honour lists the names of 3,544 men from Norwich who died in World War I. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed the war memorial in St Peter’s Street.
As the memorial was not large enough to contain so many names, it was decided that Lutyens should also design a Roll of Honour to be made of oak panels on which the names would be painted. The result was a unique memorial; there are no other Rolls of Honour anywhere in the country like it.
Now thanks to a project involving Norwich City Council, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service and the Norwich War Memorial Trust, it is being fully restored and will move from the Castle Keep to City Hall.
Its unveiling will take place in November to coincide with the time of remembrance and marking the centenary of 1916, a pivotal year in World War I. The Roll of Honour will be installed in the main foyer and viewings will be on a pre-booked basis.
It was installed in the Norwich Castle Keep on 13 January 1931 without ceremony and with some embarrassment about the time it had taken to get it ready. The War Memorial Committee had decided that the first Roll of Honour looked unfinished and not fit for display, so alterations were made to improve the quality of the panels. As Lutyens had exceeded the agreed budget of £500, he waived his fee and paid the difference himself.
The memorial consists of an oak case with doors containing 12 double-sided hinged, and four fixed, single-sided panels painted with the names and units of the war dead.
However, the panels have suffered structural damage and work needs to be carried out to ensure whenever it is accessed in the future, however carefully, no further damage is caused.
Councillor Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “We are very proud this important memorial to those who gave their lives in World War I is being restored to its former glory and will be installed in the foyer of City Hall, completing the restoration of these two important memorials.”
Dr David Davies, chief curator for Norfolk Museums Service, added: “We are grateful to all bodies involved in this important restoration project. We are delighted that it is possible for this great memorial to be re-located in such an appropriate, accessible and central city location and with such significant timing in relation to the centenary of the Great War.”