Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Life and Death

In memoriam

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 18 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2725
  1. Iona Heath, president, Royal College of General Practitioners
  1. iona.heath22{at}

The legacy of the war generation, which gave us the NHS, is being systematically destroyed, says Iona Heath, writing in a personal capacity

Something very peculiar is going on. We are in the midst of an outbreak of new war memorials, most of which refer to the heroism of the second world war, which ended more than 60 years ago. Almost without exception they mark what we must hope will be a nadir in the degradation of contemporary sculpture. London’s Green Park was created by Charles II in 1668 and, unique among the royal parks, it had no lakes, buildings, or monuments. The encroachment began in 1994 with the Canada Memorial, sponsored by the discredited Conrad Black, and is set to continue with the monument to Bomber Command now nearing completion. The very special atmosphere of this very particular park is being destroyed. Yet the most grotesque example is probably the Battle of Britain monument on the Victoria Embankment, whose sponsors include the Daily Mail and the Imperial Tobacco group. Here the quality of sculpture is the polar opposite of the authenticity and power of, for …

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