Citizens' War Memorial: Sacrifice

Sacrifice is one of the figures from the Citizens' War Memorial, which stood beside the ChristChurch Cathedral until 2021.

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Designed by sculptor William Trethewey and architect George Hart, the Citizens’ War Memorial was unveiled in 1937. The memorial of six bronze figures flanking a stone cross commemorates those who died in World War One.

The seated central figure, Sacrifice, represents grief; St George to the south represents valour; on the north side holding a torch is Youth. Next to St George is the female figure of peace holding a dove and olive branch, and beside her is Justice, blindfolded and holding scales. While the largest bronze figure is not formally named it is thought to be Victory breaking the sword of battle.

Cathedral Square Christchurch 9 reduced size copy

The Citizens War Memorial when it stood in Cathedral Square.

Since the February 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, the memorial has been fenced off from public view due to its proximity to the severely damaged Cathedral. While the memorial itself was not badly damaged by the earthquakes, the interior steel reinforcing has significantly corroded over time.

In 2021, the Church Property Trustees and the Christchurch City Council agreed to move the memorial to Cathedral Square and for it to be gifted to Christchurch City Council on behalf of the people of Canterbury.

The memorial has been carefully and respectfully deconstructed and restored off site. Work on the reconstruction has started in Cathedral Square. The memorial will look the same from the outside but the internal structure will be much stronger ensuring it will endure over time. Work on the memorial is scheduled to be finished in time for Armistice Day 2022.

In the meantime, Sacrifice is available to view in the Museum Foyer.

13 April – 31 July 2022
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