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Unveiling of Aberystwyth War Memorial

Unveiling of Aberystwyth War Memorial

WWI soldiers died far from their womenfolk but are commemorated in Aberystwyth by a representation of what they were forcibly estranged from: buxom ‘Humanity’ unclothed.

Non-Fiction 1923 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales

Overview

September 14th 1923: the Aberystwyth war memorial, built in 1922 to a design by Mario Rutelli of Italy, using stone from Ystrad Meurig Quarry, is unveiled with due ceremony. Lord Ystwyth, wearing a top hat, pays tribute to the dead and the mayor, Captain Edward Llewellyn, unveils the memorial. Near its base, ‘Humanity’ a buxom, naked woman, emerges from the ashes of war whilst above, crowning the memorial, winged ‘Victory’ (a clothed female) holds aloft a laurel wreath.

Professor Mario Rutelli, the sculptor invited to make a war memorial for Aberystwyth, came originally from Sicily. His connection with Aberystwyth came about though his acquaintance with Thomas Jenkins, a member of the local Tabernacle Chapel who had a successful shipping business in London. Jenkins spent much time in Italy, which is probably where he met Rutelli, and commissioned him to create the Tabernacle's war memorial. Aberystwyth’s Appeal Committee was impressed by Rutelli’s work for the chapel and so commissioned him to make the town memorial. He also made the statue of the Prince of Wales situated outside the Old College. This is local newsreel footage for use in Cheetham family cinemas.