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Goulden, Richard Reginald (1877-1932), sculptor

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Goulden was one of several noted sculptors who served their country in World War I (1914-1919).

Goulden was born in Dover, educated at Dover College, and went to the Dover School of Art where he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. He was principally a portrait sculptor but did produce some memorable public memorials. One of these stands in Lincolns Inn Fields and is a bronze group built to commemorate Ramsay MacDonald’s wife Margaret, social reformer and suffragette, for her charity work with the young. An angelic figure is surrounded by nine cherubic children. Margaret died before her husband became Prime Minister, and their daughter Isabel served as hostess for her father at No. 10. Some photographs of this memorial are shown below as well as Goulden’s War Memorial at St Michael Cornhill, in the City of London.

During the First World War Goulden served in the front line in France in 1915 and 1916. He was “mentioned in despatches”- see his Medal Index Card (reference WO 372/24). We can also see which campaign medals he was awarded (reference WO 372/8). These two Medal Index Cards are held at The National Archives.


1. The Dover War Memorial. This memorial to the people of Dover who had died in the First World War, was unveiled on 5th November 1924 by Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Keyes. After the Second World War new inscriptions were added and it was re-dedicated to the dead of both World Wars. This memorial stands in a Garden of Remembrance in Biggin Street, Dover.

2. War Memorial inside the Bank of England building in the City of London (in Garden Court). This is a bronze statue of St Christopher carrying the infant Christ.Garden Court is not accessible to the public. The inscription is unusual and full of foreboding- "TO THE COMRADES WHO, AT DUTY'S CALL,CROSSED THE DARK WATERS TO THE FURTHER SHORE 1914-1919. TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO CROSSED THE SAME WATERS 1939-1945". This memorial was unveiled on the 11th November 1921.

3. The War Memorial in Gateshead.This features a bronze relief. The Gateshead War Memorial was unveiled on the 14th May, 1922.

4. The War Memorial at Crompton in Lancashire.The Crompton and Shaw War Memorial, unveiled on 29th April 1923 by General Sir Ian Hamilton, features a bronze group with a man defending a group of young children, slaying a threatening beast.The young children shown represented future generations. In the gallery below are various photographs of the memorial taken in June 2008.

5. War Memorial at St.John's Church, Hackney.

6. Statue of G.F.Watts, the painter and sculptor, on the Cromwell Road frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

7. The War memorial at Kingston on Thames in Greater London. This memorial, unveiled in 1923, stands in the memorial garden on the site of the old burial ground near the large shopping area. It features a bronze male figure holding a torch and shielding a child; perhaps the triumph of mankind against adversity and protecting a child representing the future. Below is a photograph of the man holding up the torch to the sky, this taken in July 2008 and below that a gallery of images. The first shows a full view of the bronze, the second the inscription- "IN HONOUR OF/THE MEN OF THIS/TOWN WHO GAVE/THEIR LIVES/THE GREAT WARS/1914-1919/1939-1945". The third image shows part of the inscription below the bronze figure which reads "AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE/SUN AND IN THE MORNING/WE WILL REMEMBER THEM".

The Kingston Upon Thames War Memorial

Goulden’s service record is available at The National Archives under reference WO 374/28313. His service record contains a note of his promotion to temporary captain from 5th January, 1916 to 19th June, 1916 with 1/2 London Divisional Engineers and his record of service from 13th September 1914 to June 24th 1916 with 2/3 Field Company 2nd London Division. Royal Engineers-this lists various dates and activities/events, including the fact that he was awarded a “mention in despatches” on April 30, 1916. The file contains Army Form Z.3 covering his discharge on 25th July, 1919. This describes his occupation in civil life as “Designer & Sculptor”.

Goulden was also the sculptor of the Reigate and Redhill War Memorial.This stands on the green at Shaw’s Corner on the London Road in Redhill. It features a bronze figure of a man carrying a child in one arm whilst holding aloft a flaming torch with the other. The bronze is set on a stone plinth. The memorial was unveiled on the 5th August 1923 by the Right Honourable Earl Beatty, the then Admiral of the Fleet.

Below is a photograph of the plaque at the base of the memorial, which explains what the figures are meant to represent, the words being taken from the official unveiling programme.

Plaque explaining the meaning of the bronze composition.

Also in the gallery below we feature some further photographs of this memorial taken in August 2008.

Apart from the inscription shown in the gallery above, the words “COURAGE”,”HONOUR” and “SELF-SACRIFICE” are inscribed in bronze on the remaining three sides of the plinth.

Another Goulden work is the Malvern War Memorial in the public library at Great Malvern. This features a winged figure, representing youth and holding up a flaming torch. It was unveiled in 1923.

Goulden was also responsible for the bronze reliefs on the Brightlingsea War Memorial in Victoria Place, Brightlingsea, Essex. Part of Goulden's service in the Army had been at Brightlingsea.