A SPECIAL PLACE IN OUR HEARTS
In 2001, the Memorial Garden, situated on the site of our former home, the Boleyn Ground, became an area where West Ham supporting families could pay tribute in memory of loved ones.
For over 15 years, more and more West Ham fans said farewell to family and to friends, at a place that meant so much to them. A place that is so close to all of our hearts. The tributes grew into their hundreds, with personal plaques and cherished items adorning the area, and families continue to pay their respects at the Garden today.
The Garden was very much created by the fans, for the fans. A special place, belonging to the West Ham Family. A special place, where family and friends could come to remember those they have lost, and to reflect upon those great moments, with so many fantastic memories - the highs and even the lows, all shared together at our Boleyn Ground.
While the Garden has now changed, the memory of those remembered here will always live on, and the new Garden is a fitting and lasting tribute to them.
Our loved ones will always be there, and it will always be their special place.
HISTORY AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Since moving to London Stadium in 2016, the Club and Barratt London have remained in close contact to ensure the Memorial Garden could be accessed securely, maintained weekly, and to secure a lasting legacy to all of those supporters remembered at the Garden.
During this time we continued to do everything possible to locate those who have loved ones remembered at the Garden. This began with a series of consultation events held in the summer of 2018, with the thoughts and feelings of family members always being our first priority. We invited feedback on the proposals for the future of the Garden throughout the consultation with family members.
In January 2020, the Memorial Garden temporarily closed in order for re-landscaping works to take place. Ahead of its closure, the Club and Barratt London held a closing ceremony with the event attended by over 100 family members who heard readings from the West Ham United Chaplain, and Ray Fuller, whose wife’s ashes are at the Garden. Families also had time for quiet reflection and the opportunity to collect personal items.
Any remaining unclaimed items were carefully collected by the Club, and stored securely, either to be placed in the memorial capsule or reunited with family members.
With the Memorial Garden temporarily closed, a memorial bench was installed on Priory Road to provide families with a temporary area of reflection during the redevelopment work. Protective hoardings were erected around the Memorial Garden.
With all landscaping completed, families and close friends of loved ones were invited to visit the new Memorial Garden first before it reopened to public access. A series of special, private visits were arranged with the Supporter Services team and the Club Chaplain, who met with visitors personally on each day. The Memorial Garden is now reopen, providing a fitting tribute to loved ones, enabling families to visit whenever they wish and to pay their respects and honour those closest to them.
A LASTING LEGACY TO LOVED ONES
The two trees that are synonymous with the Memorial Garden remain exactly where they always were and the surrounding soil containing the ashes of loved ones has been capped with additional soil, fresh bark and claret and blue plants. This ensures that loved ones still remain within the Memorial Garden and they’re naturally protected within a more scenic and newly landscaped area. While the Memorial Garden is instantly recognised by all as a special and sacred place, the Club understands that a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) already applies to one of the trees and we’re engaging with the local authority to add two further TPOs in the Memorial Garden area.
A Memorial Plaque honours the names of all supporters who are remembered at the Boleyn Ground Memorial Garden, recording their year of birth and year of passing.
Each name is laser cut into cor-ten steel, ensuring they cannot be removed. Cor-ten steel, or weathered steel, benefits from increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion compared to other steels and the likes of timber, which adds to its durability and longevity. It is also lightweight, unlike concrete or stone, so does not add undue pressure on the roots of the original trees within the memorial area, protecting them from risk.
Through exposure to the elements, the steel will ‘weather’ or oxidise. The steel forms a protective layer on its surface, which develops and regenerates continuously when subjected to the influence of the weather. Timber seating has also been integrated into the area to provide family and friends with an area of reflection when visiting the Memorial Garden.
Hundreds of plaques and items were laid at the Memorial Garden over the years and the Club collected them during the closing ceremony in order to return them to families or place any approved items within a Memorial Capsule. The location of the capsule is marked by a special plaque.
The Boleyn Gate Iron Sans Font
Families will see that a special font is dedicated throughout the Memorial Garden design that takes inspiration from our former home. This font features on both the Memorial Planter and Memorial Plaque. A significant font in the fifties and sixties that once adorned the John Lyall gates, it is entirely unique to West Ham. The letters on the famous gates were skilfully cut from metal, much like the new Memorial Plaque, and stood proudly alongside the Memorial Garden, welcoming fans through the gates to the Boleyn Ground.