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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 04:10 GMT
War memorial database launched
The Cenotaph
Not all memorials are as well-known as the Whitehall Cenotaph
A national database of war memorials has been launched after 12 years of research to list 45,000 UK sites.

The unique database lists for the first time details of war memorials from simple crosses to cenotaphs.

The UK National Inventory of War Memorials, launched on Thursday, contains facts and figures on memorials erected over the last 350 years.

Almost every community in the country has a war memorial

Liz Forgan
Memorial fund
Most of the entries relates to the battles of the 20th century and include plaques in churches, schools and hospitals as well as gardens and commemorative buildings such as village halls.

The completion of the archive was speeded up by a grant of 156,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Liz Forgan, chairman of the fund, said: "The inventory combines the best of our heritage with the advantages of information technology.

Important scheme

"Almost every community in the country has a war memorial but until now there has been no definitive inventory of their location.

"The importance of such a scheme is shown by the hundreds of volunteers who have contributed their time and energy to provide the information to establish the inventory and by the thousands who will use it.

"This will include relatives of those who have served, family historians, and all those who value memorials as an important part of our local heritage."

Since it was established in 1980, the memorial fund has contributed more than 212m towards safeguarding more than 1,200 plots of land, buildings, and works of art.

Noted sculptors

It was set up by Parliament as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the wars and given powers to assist financially in the acquiring of items of outstanding national interest.

Information in the new inventory, which is administered by the Imperial War Museum and English Heritage, is likely to prove invaluable to those trying to preserve and restore memorials.

Many of the memorial sites include works by some of Britain's most noted sculptors and architects, from Sir Edwin Lutyens to Sir Herbert Baker.

The computerised database will be available for use by any visitor to the Imperial War Museum reading rooms in the department of printed books.

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