Project grants/Books on war memorials

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Basic information[edit | edit source]

Project Title (If applicable)
Books on war memorials
Proposed by
Harry Mitchell (User:HJ Mitchell)
Are you currently a member of Wikimedia UK?
I'm about to renew my membership

Project description[edit | edit source]

Briefly describe the issue or problem that motivates this application. What needs are you meeting?
Over 2,000 war memorials are listed buildings; Historic England are running a project to increase this by 2,500 by the end of the First World War centenary (the overwhelming majority of war memorials were commissioned in the aftermath of the First World War). By my estimation, around 100 of these are easily notable enough that they should have their own Wikipedia article, but currently only around 20% have articles at all and most of those articles are of poor quality. By way of example, the article on the Cenotaph on Whitehall (de facto Britain's national First World War memorial) is messy, incomplete, does not convey the significance of the memorial, and relies predominantly on web sources and news reports rather than books and academic sources. The Arch of Remembrance in Leicester has only had an article since December 2015 (and the article is a reasonable start, but nowhere near complete); as of this moment, Rochdale Cenotaph—a grade I listed building—doesn't have an article at all.
Describe project activities. What will you use the funding to do?
I intend to fill in the gaps described above, creating articles for those memorials that are currently red-linked and improving those articles that do exist. My usual style is to work on one article at a time and bring it up to the best standard possible rather than to create one thin article and move on to the next. The standard achievable obviously depends on how much is written about each given subject, but where possible I will nominate articles or DYK as new creations or fivefold expansions, and I expect a least a few memorials will be sufficiently well covered that their articles could be brought up to good or even featured article status (the Cenotaph, for example, has the potential for a featured article). I am in the process of assembling a target list of around 100 memorials&madsh;the 12 grade I listed memorials, 61 grade II*, and the 20 or so remaining Lutyens memorials provide the bulk of the list; there will be others that have sufficient coverage to justify an article. I also intend to write several more general articles, for example something along the lines of "war memorials in England" and something about memorials to specific conflicts (eg Boer War memorials, First World War memorials in the UK), and articles on Edwin Lutyens' war memorials. I'd also like to work on creating lists of listed war memorials by geographical area (where Wikidata would come in handy in helping to populate the lists), and there's potential for improvements to multiple other articles—for example we stray into biographies of the architects and sculptors involved in the memorials, the social history of the towns, and the history of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Since this is the closest question to "what do you want the money for", I'll put the provisional list of books here:

  • British War Memorials, Mark Quinlan, ISBN 978-0755201860, from £15
  • The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Gavin Stamp, ISBN 978-1861978967, from £11
  • British Public Schools War Memorials, C. F. Kernot, 978-1843421382, from £22
  • The Obelisk: A Monumental Feature in Britain, Richard Barnes, ISBN 978-1872914282, from £25
  • At the Going Down of the Sun: British First World War Memorials, Derek Boorman, ISBN 978-1850720416, from £2
  • For Your Tomorrow: British Second World War Memorials, Derek Boorman, ISBN 978-0951365410, from 1p
  • A Century of Remembrance: One Hundred Outstanding British War Memorials, Derek Boorman, ISBN 978-1844153169, from £8
  • Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance, Alex King, 978-1859739839, from £15
  • Lest We Forget: Remembrance & Commemoration Kindle Edition, Charles Bagot-Jewitt, ISBN 978-0752459653, from £3
  • Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Jay Winter, 978-0521574532, from £3
  • War Memorials, Alan Borg, ISBN 978-0850523638, from £7
  • Courage Remembered: The Story Behind the Construction and Maintenance of the Commonwealth's Military Cemeteries and Memorials of the Wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45, ISBN 978-0117726840, from £3
  • Cemeteries of the Great War, Sir Edwin Lutyens, ISBN 978-9064507151, from £22
  • Memorializing the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902: Militarization of the Landscape, Monuments and Memorials in Britain, Valerie B. Parkhouse, ISBN 978-1780884011, from £16
  • Monuments of War: How to Read a War Memorial, Colin McIntyre, ISBN 978-0709040279, from £1
  • Britain's Maritime Memorials and Mementoes, David Saunders, ISBN 978-1852604660, from 1p
  • Britain's Aviation Memorials and Mementoes, David J. Smith, ISBN 978-1852603953, from £10

Subtotal: approximately £163. The prices fluctuate, and will vary depending on whether we go for second-hand or new copies. I've provided prices for new copies (where they're available), except where the cost is disproportionate. Prices are rounded up to the nearest whole pound. Standard P&P for Amazon Marketplace is £2.80, multiplied by the 14 books in the list it comes to £39.20.

Total: £163 (for the books) + £39.20 (P&P) = £202.20.

It may be necessary to add slightly to this list if I uncover more books as my research progresses, but this should be the bulk of the reading material.

Describe your plan for evaluating this project. How will you measure success? What types of things will you measure (e.g. content, participants)?
  • Number of new articles
  • Quantity of text added to existing articles
  • Number of articles to which citations to these books are added
  • Number of DYKs
  • Number of good/featured articles
  • Number of new Wikidata items created
Identify key people involved in this project. How will or could the wider Wikimedian community be involved?
This is mostly a fairly solitary project, but ties in with other projects I intend to propose which have more potential to involve the wider community.
If applicable, identify partnering organisations for this project (not essential)
There is a possibility that Historic England and the Imperial War Museum might be willing to contribute; they could certainly help in identifying significant memorials that lack articles or have poor-quality articles.


If you feel that there is more information that could be for example resources needed, how successes can be measured, and how it fits in with the aims of Wikimedia and Wikimedia UK. Please note that these answers don't have to be definite now, and can be expanded on in conversation with the programme team.

What targets have you set? What will you measure?
Targets: to ensure that all of 100 or so memorials have at least a reasonable quality article; to document them all properly with Wikidata items and Commons categories; to produce good and featured articles where possible (at a guess, I would say at least one featured article is possible; half a dozen good articles could be possible, maybe even more).
Metrics: as above.
What contribution will the project make to our strategic goals?
The creation and improvement of Wikipedia articles, covered by G1: "Develop open knowledge", specifically G1.1, G1.2 (quality and quantity of open knowledge increased).
Who will be recording/measuring the project metrics, and writing up a project report?
I will keep a log in my userspace of articles created/improved with reference to these books. I can write a report if necessary but I'd have to take advice on what it would say beyond "I wrote these articles".
What staff support is being requested?
Minimal. Purchasing of the books is about the only staff time required for this.
How can you get other volunteers involved? What roles could they have?
Minimal at this stage. If anyone wants to help by creating articles from the target list, they're more than welcome but actually researching and writing the articles is largely a solitary activity.
What meeting or other space is needed?
None.
Are other resources needed (such as computers, books, camera equipment, food, contacts, infrastructure)? How will they be sourced?
Not applicable
If any partner organisations have been identified, have they been contacted and are they committed?
No
Does this project require more extensive funding? What would any WMUK funds be used for?
The only funding required is the cost of the books.
Are external funds needed that we can apply for? If so where will they be sought?
Given the relatively trivial sum of money involved, I doubt this is applicable.
Are there any resources that you can contribute? Such as equipment.
I already own several books on the subject.


I agree that Wikipedia's coverage of war memorials leaves a lot to be desired and I welcome a project that will improve this. The prices you've given for books seem reasonable to me and I haven't found any for a significantly lower price than you've quoted. I'm not going to demand you get used copies as quite often it seems they are only slightly cheaper than new ones (if at all) and represent poor value for money. The other option is libraries though you'll probably have to travel all-over-the-place to find all these books and the general inconvenience of returning them after a short period etc. probably makes that impractical. While getting other organisations/volunteers involved could make this project even more fruitful, it is certainly not essential; this proposal is good as it is now and has my support. CT Cooper · talk 02:36, 17 February 2016 (GMT)

Approval[edit source]

Based on the recommendation from the Grants Committee, the budget holder has approved £202.20 to support this grant.

14:35, 26 February 2016 (GMT)

Feedback from the evaluation panel[edit source]

  • "Yes, great. Would like to see the projects used to link or at least to raise awareness/introduce the key related organisations to Wikimedia UK."
  • "I agree that Wikipedia's coverage of war memorials leaves a lot to be desired and I welcome a project that will improve this. The prices you've given for books seem reasonable to me and I haven't found any for a significantly lower price than you've quoted. I'm not going to demand you get used copies as quite often it seems they are only slightly cheaper than new ones (if at all) and represent poor value for money. The other option is libraries though you'll probably have to travel all-over-the-place to find all these books and the general inconvenience of returning them after a short period etc. probably makes that impractical. While getting other organisations/volunteers involved could make this project even more fruitful, it is certainly not essential; this proposal is good as it is now and has my support."
  • "I really like the project but I'm unclear on whether the volunteers will be writing the articles as well or at least starting them because if there is a clear way to tie articles on monuments with meetups in those cities and commons pictures, then it's fantastic."