The Cenotaph was one of a number of temporary structures erected on the route of the Peace Day Parade in London on 19 July 1919 to officially celebrate the end of World War I. Immediately after the unveiling ceremony, the base of the memorial was covered with flowers. For weeks after the parade there were queues of people waiting to place wreaths there. Pressure from the public to retain this memorial mounted. By the end of July the cabinet decided to recreate the structure in permanent materials and designate it Britain's official war memorial. This is a rare example of public acclaim for a design and of government acknowledging and responding to this expression of approval. The paper describes the history of the Cenotaph, charts the development of the design, and attempts to understand why it evokes such a positive public response.

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