A cluster of war memorials with an eternal gas flame can be found rather hidden away in an east London industrial site if you know where to look. These are the WWI and WWII memorials to people who worked at the nearby Gas Light and Coke Company and died during the wars.
The tall column commemorates the many employees of the Gas Light & Coke Company who were employees of the Beckton gas works and were killed in both world wars. The column was based at Beckton but later moved to Bromley by Bow to sit beside the memorials to the dead of the local gas works.
There’s an eternal flame at the top, appropriately powered by gas.
The plaques on either side listing the names of the dead are, however, sadly replacements, as the originals were stolen in 2007.
There’s also the rotunda, erected after WWII in memory of those who died in WWI, and is decorated with Corinthian columns rising from decorative pedestals and supporting a heavily embellished frieze.
Sitting in the centre is a stone tablet with two bronze plaques. One side, with a carving of an angel relief dressed in armour with a sword commemorates the 549 men who died in WW1. On the other side is a plaque painted with the arms of the company, featuring a pair of salamanders breathing fire, and the names of the 402 who fell during the Second World War.
The war memorials are all now listed by Historic England.
Although not a war memorial, there’s also a statue of Sir Corbett Woodhall in the cluster. He was a gas engineer and later Governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company from 1906 to 1916. The statue was also in Beckton but later moved to stand here in the woodland setting.
You can find the memorials in the West Ham Memorial Gardens, which sits inside the ProLogis Park industrial estate. The easiest way to find it is to head to Twelvetrees Crescent close to Bromley-by-Bow tube station and cross over the river into the industrial estate. On the corner, you’ll see the woods, and just head in to find the memorials.