- Report summary
- Part 1: Views from the community
- How we’ve been listening
- What we’ve heard
- People pretty much agree about how the memorial should feel
- A shared vision is emerging
- A garden as part of a memorial is a popular idea
- There has been interest in a building
- Certain ideas come up time and again
- The community has a broad range of creative ideas
- Designs from elsewhere can provide inspiration
- The views of bereaved families are particularly important
- People don’t agree about everything
- Honouring the Tower
- Honouring the pain: the role of art
- Part 2: The path forward
- Learning from other Memorial Commissions
- A tough lesson
- Key dilemmas
- What’s coming up
- A long road
- Be part of our journey
- Thank you!
Publishing this report is an important moment for the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission and all those we represent as we move towards a fitting memorial. ‘Remembering Grenfell: our journey so far’ is our chance to show you where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going.
We take our roles as community representatives incredibly seriously and we want to fulfil those roles as best as we can. The memorial is significant for us all and in different ways. Whether you’re a bereaved family member, former resident of the Tower or Grenfell Walk, or a local resident (be it within the Lancaster West Estate or other nearby estate or street), the memorial can’t happen without you.
As well as explaining our journey and how we have got to this particular point, in this report we’re also sharing with you the different ways in which we’ve heard from you so far (section 8), what we’ve heard (see section 9) and how many people we’ve spoken to – which is a lot, and you can find all those details in the appendices. We also talk about some of the big challenges we’re grappling with (section 12). It might not be possible for the memorial to accommodate the range of different ideas we’ve heard so far, for example, and how can we honour and respond to different preferences? How do we know when we’ve heard from enough people and it’s the right time to move onto the next stage of memorial development?
We speak about what’s coming up and what we’re going to do next (section 13). We have come a long way, and there is further to go. We hope this report will be like a dot on a map, helping to show you ‘where we are now’ and what we’ve done, seen and heard since we started to come together as the Memorial Commission in September 2019. You can see our whole journey in the timeline.
A further note before you read on. It is often hard to clearly define the many different ‘groups’ of people whose lives have been affected irreversibly by the events of 14 June 2017. Words and ‘labels’ often fail to do justice to how personal experience of the tragedy intersects in multiple ways. There are both shared and unique experiences among the affected individuals and families, just as every family and individual is different, and assumptions can’t be made. There are also communities within larger communities. When it comes to the language we’ve used in this report, we’ve tried to be as clear as possible about who and what we’re referring to. We talk, for example, specifically about bereaved family members or former Tower residents where that applies, and about ‘community’ when we’re referring to the many different affected ‘groups’. We also use ‘Grenfell’ on its own at times, as shorthand for the tragedy (or for the memory of it), and in the way that many of us also use that word day-to-day. We know that the language we’ve used might not be what everyone would choose, but we’ve done our best to be as clear as we can.
Thank you for picking this up and starting to read.
1. Our mission
Remembering what happened at Grenfell Tower isn’t easy. The loss is too great. The pain is too much. The injustice is too profound. It’s like looking into the sun.
The bereaved families in our community were left with very few physical things to remember their loved ones. Some have one or two small household items, whilst some have no objects at all. Because of the nature of the fire, it wasn’t always possible to lay the bodies of loved ones to rest in accordance with their beliefs, or to give them a fitting funeral and grave. The Tower itself is a sacred place, but it is currently cordoned off so that the building can be kept safe. Our bereaved families each remember in their own ways, but they don’t yet have a peaceful place where they can all come together to grieve.
Those who survived and lost their homes that night remember what happened to them – what they said and didn’t say, what they did and didn’t do. It can be very hard to go through what happened at Grenfell and then live your life afterwards. The memories can come at any time, and it can be difficult to deal with them and then carry on with everyday activities. Sometimes, people don’t think that they should. It’s often easier to live with difficult memories when you can give them an appropriate time and place, and if you don’t feel alone. Our survivors don’t yet have a peaceful place where they can choose to go to remember together.
People who live near Grenfell Tower are reminded of the tragedy every day, by the Tower itself. For many, it’s not easy to live with the reminder. It’s not easy for the children at Kensington Aldridge Academy and other schools nearby. For Lancaster West Estate residents and for people living in unsafe housing across the country, it’s a reminder that it could have been them.
Everyone who drives down the Westway and the A320 is reminded. Everyone who looks across the west London skyline is reminded. And certain people really need reminding: the inquiry is still ongoing, no criminal prosecutions have yet been made, and structural change has not yet happened. It’s difficult – some would say impossible – to imagine being in a peaceful place while we are still seeking truth and justice. Grenfell forced the nation to confront some shameful things, and the country – and the world – needs something visible to make sure it remembers and respects what happened.
Peace will come to us all eventually. We know this because 72 beloved sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, partners, friends, neighbours, husbands and wives are resting in peace right now.
The Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission’s mission is to create a fitting memorial to remember those who lost their lives through the Grenfell Tower tragedy – a peaceful place where people can physically go one day.
We know that the journey to a place of peace will be a long one. There are many challenges, and there have already been twists and turns, ups and downs along the way.
Here, we’d like to tell you how far we’ve got.
2. Grenfell’s existing memorials
It isn’t the case that Grenfell doesn’t have a memorial yet. In fact, it has several thousand. Nobody who walks the streets of W10 or W11 could be in any doubt that something very significant happened here. Every ribbon on every tree, every green heart sprayed on a wall, is an act of remembrance that means something.
Outside Ladbroke Grove station, the mural of ceramics by local artist, Paprika Williams, sets hand-crafted hearts into an ordinary brick wall next to a busy road. The arches under the Westway are filled with banners and artwork from the Silent Walks, stored away carefully until they are needed the next time. As six lanes of traffic thunder overhead, the Wall of Truth is covered in paintings, messages, prayers, graffiti and testimonies. The green benches in the Hope Garden offer a place to sit and reflect, in defiance of the noise and traffic pollution just metres above. And the small memorial garden outside St Clement’s Church provides a quiet reminder for those passing near the Lancaster West Estate.
The Grenfell Community Memorial Mosaic coordinated by the Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA) and the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre is mounted on the temporary hoarding outside the Tower itself. It sits alongside the heart of sunflowers, prayer offerings, personal tributes and messages written in pen. And 37 new mosaic stepping stones will soon line the route of the Silent Walk, each one set with 72 flecks of gold.
These memorials sit in spaces that the community has claimed. These are not spaces that the community legally owns. The Grenfell community has been creative with the spaces that were already there or that have been installed temporarily, but we don’t yet have a physical area that has been designed specifically to meet our needs. Many of our existing memorials have already been damaged by exposure to the elements. They will live long in our memories, but they may not be there for our children’s children.
Other major tragedies have permanent memorials, which have been designed so that they are inspiring places of remembrance. They are legally owned in a way that means they can be protected forever. Grenfell deserves no less.
3. About us
The Memorial Commission community representatives are Abraham, Adel, Andrea, Hanan C, Hanan W, Hassan, Mohammed, Nabil, Sandra and Susan. You might know us already, but if you don’t, as-salaam alaikum, bonjour, ciao, haye, hola, olá, سلام, እው ሰላም ነው, ሰላም and hello!
There’s some information about us on our website: www.grenfelltowermemorial.co.uk. Half of us are bereaved family members, three of us represent survivors of the fire, and two of us have been living on the Lancaster West Estate for many years.
We’re all on the Memorial Commission as volunteers and we juggle this work alongside our normal jobs. We each bring different skills from our work, whether it’s in education, procurement, business, social care or the local mosque. Many of us are also core participants in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Like many people, we find that volunteering can help us deal with our grief and everything we’ve been through. Our kids also keep us busy and sometimes make their own special contributions to our online meetings – not necessarily the worst thing when you’re doing work like this.
We’re not on the Memorial Commission to represent ourselves – we were each elected to our roles to represent either bereaved families, survivors and those who lost their homes through the tragedy, or Lancaster West residents. Regardless of which of these groups we were elected to represent, we work together to support every group – and collectively we represent North Kensington residents. Our focus is making sure that the Grenfell community leads decision-making on the long-term future of the Grenfell Tower site.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the process to create a memorial to a national tragedy has been led in this way. Whilst it’s common for these processes to involve bereaved families and survivors at specific points, the Grenfell memorial is being led by those most directly affected at every stage.
We started working towards a memorial in 2019, just before the pandemic started.
After we were elected, we came together and made a promise:
To those who lost their lives, we promise never to forget
To those who survived, we promise never to forget
To those who bore witness, we promise never to forget
And to the next generation, we promise never to forget
Together we will work to build a fitting memorial
One that will stand the test of time and act as a permanent symbol of remembrance
Forever in our hearts
We engraved this promise on a plaque and have mounted it on the hoarding that surrounds the Tower. It means a lot to us.
4. People who help us
To help us with our work, we have support from some other people.
Our co-chairs, Thelma Stober and Michael Lockwood, help run our meetings, keep the show on the road and go out to do some moving and shaking on our behalf. We chose Michael and Thelma because of their skills and experience. Thelma is a leading solicitor and was part of the team that brought the Olympics to London in 2012. She is also a survivor of the 7/7 terrorist attacks, which lefther with life-changing injuries. She not only knows about making big challenging things happen, but she also gets what the Grenfell community has been through. Michael has worked with the Grenfell community since the early days of the tragedy – he ran the independent team whose job was to keep the Tower safe and stabilise the building immediately after the fire. He also led on working with the bereaved families, survivors and wider community to understand their needs. He’s now director general of the organisation that oversees complaints about the police and handles the most serious allegations. He knows about dealing with the powers that be.
Our dedicated admin team is headed up by Daisy, a civil servant. You might have seen her around the neighbourhood – she’s the young woman with the dark curly hair. Our admin people are employed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, but the government has effectively let us borrow them for a bit. They don’t work on anything else – only for us – and the independence of their work is protected by a special set of rules. If they broke these rules, we could ask for them to be removed from their roles.
We don’t want plans for the memorial to get bogged down in regulations and bureaucracy, so we invite people who work for certain public authorities to come to our meetings when we need specific information or advice. We sometimes invite Ayesha Hameed from the Greater London Authority, Dr Fiona Wilcox who is the Inner West London Senior Coroner, Robyn Doran from Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Matt Hogan from the Grenfell Tower site management team, Sue Harris from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Suzanne Kochanowski from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. By getting their input early, we’re hoping to avoid a lot of lengthy processes when it’s time to turn the community’s memorial plans into reality.
We also speak with representatives from other memorials, and use contractors for chunky bits of work that require specific skills.
None of these people are allowed to make the Memorial Commission’s decisions – that always falls to us as community representatives.
5. How we make decisions
We make decisions by voting democratically. Only community representatives are allowed to vote. Together, representatives from bereaved families have 50% of the votes, representatives from survivors have 30%, and representatives from Lancaster West have 20%.
At least two bereaved family members, one survivor and one Lancaster West resident must agree in order for a decision to count. If not enough representatives attended a decision-making meeting, we ask for their views by email and then bring it back to another meeting if we still can’t decide.
It’s been well worth taking the time – sometimes a lot of time (!) – to consider all the different perspectives and include the whole community properly in our work. What happened in the Tower that night was the result of people not being listened to. We know that no memorial to Grenfell could ever be fitting if the process of creating it had excluded or ignored the community.
6. What we can do, and what we can’t
As a Memorial Commission, we work with the community to make decisions about the memorial.
Our job is to work openly, inclusively and transparently with the community to decide how the Grenfell Tower site should be used in the long term, how the memorial should be designed, and how the site should be owned and managed. In this report we explain what we’ve done so far and what we’ve heard. In the next 12 months, we’ll write a further report setting out what the community wants for a memorial. Our Terms of Reference are at: www.grenfelltowermemorial.co.uk/terms-reference.
We can’t make decisions about what happens to the Tower (for example, whether it stays up or is taken down) – this is the government’s responsibility. They are doing their own consultation about what should happen to the Tower (see details at www.gov.uk/grenfell-community-updates), and are the legal owners of the Tower and the land immediately around it. They are responsible for maintaining the Tower and making sure it’s safe. If the Tower is taken down, the government has promised to ensure that materials from the building are available to be used as part of the memorial, if this is what the community wants.
Very sadly, the nature of the fire meant it wasn’t always possible to identify the remains of those who passed away and therefore return these remains to loved ones. Any remains that could not be identified are in the care of the coroner. Soon after the fire, the coroner met with bereaved families, and faith and community leaders, and agreed that these remains should be laid to rest at the memorial site. She has told us that she intends to continue to support the families’ wishes. We will help to advise her on the best way this could be done.
Some decisions about the memorial will require support from public authorities (for example, it will require planning permission, a budget and ownership of the site will need to change hands). We can put forward proposals and work through any issues with them, but we can’t control this process entirely. However, all the key agencies have made commitments to support the Memorial Commission’s work. They have said they will take the lead on their decision-making from the consensus of the Grenfell community.
When the Grenfell community comes together, it is powerful. We know this because in 2018, the community rose up with a clear voice and said they did not want the council to be responsible for decisions about the Tower. As a result, the government took ownership of the site. As the Memorial Commission, one of our most important roles is to serve as a vehicle for the Grenfell community to channel its power.
Land and the legal situation
There is a site of just under 3,000m2 which has been set aside for the memorial. This includes the land on which Grenfell Tower stands, as well as some adjacent land on either side.
A special legal restriction – a ‘restrictive covenant’ – is in place to protect the site so that it can’t be used in ways that go against the community’s wishes. There’s no need to worry about the site being used for new housing, for example, because there’s pretty strong agreement – especially from bereaved families – that this wouldn’t be appropriate, so this is off the table.
The Memorial Commission can make recommendations on how to create a fitting memorial within the red lines on the map (see below). This is where we envisage a peaceful place where people can physically go. As you can see, it’s a long shape, with a triangular area to the west of the Tower (where the playground used to be) and a pentagonal area to the east (which was a grassy area).
The government has promised that it will transfer ownership of the land to a body determined by the community once the site has been prepared for future use and we’ve gone through a proper process together. Eventually, the plan is that the land, and whatever is on it, is legally owned in a way that means the memorial is properly maintained and protected for generations to come. From our early conversations with the community about this, we’ve heard that decisions about the future legal ownership are crucial and should be carefully thought through. This is especially true for Lancaster West residents, because the Tower was part o f their estate.
The budget situation
We’ve agreed with the government that we will establish what the bereaved families, survivors and community want in terms of a fitting memorial. Different governments have repeatedly said that they are ‘unequivocally committed to supporting the Grenfell Tower Memorial Commission in the creation of a fitting and lasting memorial’ (see more in the secretary of state’s December 2021 letter to us here: www.grenfelltowermemorial.co.uk/resuming) and all the main political parties agree about this. So the plan is to develop a proposal based on what would be appropriate from the community’s point of view, and then ask the government to pay for it. It would be up to us if we wanted to use other sources of funding too.
It would be a bit out of character if the government just wrote us a blank cheque, but we’ll be working with them as we go along so that plans are realistic, rather than surprising them with a bill at the end. Michael and Thelma have done lots of budget negotiations for major projects, and they’re already laying the groundwork for this.
Obviously it will also be crucial to ensure there are resources to maintain the memorial once it is built. We have been giving a lot of thought to this, and considering options for how the site could be sustainably managed for the long term. This will be one of the key issues that we’ve started asking in our discussions with the community and which we will continue to explore in the coming months.
The site can’t be used in ways that go against the community’s wishes
Part 1: Views from the community
8. How we’ve been listening
Over the past two years, we’ve done a lot of listening with bereaved family members, survivors, those who lost their homes that night, Lancaster West residents and members of the local community in North Kensington. Overall, we believe that we are undertaking the most extensive engagement process for a memorial that has ever happened in the UK, and perhaps even globally.
The Grenfell community hasn’t exactly had the best experiences with ‘listening exercises’ in the past. Understandably, some people have been a little wary. Unlike other processes, the Memorial Commission’s work is about people from the community listening to the community, so that decisions are made that respect the community. But we appreciate that even though we’ve been elected as community representatives and are part of the community ourselves, we still have to earn people’s trust and confidence. People have been let down before.
We’ve always wanted to build relationships face-to-face, but Covid-19 has meant that until recently we’ve been forced to do much of our work online. It’s not what we would have chosen and we know it has been difficult for some people to talk about such personal experiences in online meetings. Some people initially came along to meetings with their cameras turned off – not saying anything and just wanting to listen.
Then, they came to another meeting and turned their camera on. Eventually, they felt able to talk to us. From our point of view, there’s no pressure to talk. If you want to come along to our open meetings and just check us out, that’s absolutely fine.
Hearing some of the evidence at the inquiry has also made things challenging, and obviously it’s been a big pressure and drain on the whole Grenfell community (and on each of us, too). The general mood has fluctuated a lot – and people’s feelings about the memorial definitely go up and down depending on how the struggle for truth and justice is going. Sometimes people have felt despondent about the memorial or haven’t had the headspace to discuss it, while at other times they’ve been wanting us to get on with things. There are a lot of emotions involved and it’s very personal. Conversations about the memorial have to weave together with everything else that’s going on for people.
The Memorial Commission has spoken to 189 people in recorded conversations so far. As community representatives we have personally spoken with 130 people. We have made a special effort to reach out individually to bereaved family members, of whom 50 have shared their perspectives with the Memorial Commission. Some of those who are bereaved have asked us to speak to their representatives, which of course we’re happy to do.
We’ve held 29 online community meetings, mostly for bereaved families and survivors only. We’ve held over 40 working group meetings (where representatives have explored specific issues), and 35 Memorial Commission meetings. The co-chairs have had over 40 meetings with community groups and community members. There have also been seven drop-in sessions on Saturdays. These are relaxed half-day sessions in different venues around the neighbourhood, with refreshments and activities for children, and they’ve been some of our most popular events.
To cut a long story short, it’s been a busy few years!
For us, making the effort is important in itself. Whenever we’ve held an online community meeting and nobody has shown up, we’ve stayed on call for the full hour anyway. Arguably there are better ways to spend your evenings, but it would go against what we stand for if we said we would be in a certain place at a certain time to listen to the community, but then left halfway through.
In addition to all this, we were supported by an engagement company called Kaizen, who helped collect views, advised us on our research approach, and analysed our data. They focused particularly on talking to people who live and work within a 10-minute walk of the Tower. They did over 200 days of outreach in the local area, knocked on doors at different times of day, did an online survey and talked to people in Amharic, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Tigrinya as well as English. The people spoken to closely represent the local demographic.
Across all these methods, we have heard views from 67 bereaved family members, and 41 of these were very close family members. They are from 16 of the 43 bereaved families. We have heard from 27 survivors (21 former residents of the Tower and six former residents of Grenfell Walk). And we’ve heard from 477 Lancaster West residents and 1,501 other local residents beyond. There are more people we are in contact with – for example, they come to our online meetings – but who haven’t recorded their views on the memorial yet, and we know that can take time for people. Altogether, 78 bereaved individuals and 21 next-of-kin families have engaged with us so far.
9. What we’ve heard
Coming out of all the discussions, we’ve heard a number of key messages:
- People pretty much agree about how the memorial should feel
- A shared vision is emerging
- A garden as part of the memorial is a popular idea
- There has been interest in a building
- Certain ideas come up time and again
- The community has a broad range of creative ideas
- Designs from elsewhere can provide inspiration
- The views of bereaved families are particularly important
- People don’t agree on everything
Let’s look at each of these in turn:
People pretty much agree about how the memorial should feel
We asked people to share their views on the feel of the memorial – what it might be like to be there, and what thoughts and feelings they hoped it would inspire. We had conversations with bereaved family members, survivors, those who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and members of the local community, and asked them to tell us which three words they would most want to use to describe the memorial.
People said lots of different words (over 300 in fact!), but certain words were consistently repeated, and people often said the same things in slightly different ways.
To make sense of the patterns, we organised the different words according to theme. Three-quarters of all the words fit under four overall themes: Peaceful and Reflective, Respectful and Remembrance, Hope and Positive, Community and Love.
Words like this were said time and again by bereaved families, survivors and those who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and the local community. There were only slight differences between what people from these groups said. For example, people from the local community put a little more emphasis on words like ‘Hope and Positive’, whereas bereaved families put a little more emphasis on words like ‘Respectful and Remembrance’. However, each of the groups mainly gave words from the same four themes.
You can see the similarities between the different groups in the ‘word clouds’ below.
The first image below shows words from bereaved families and survivors, whilst the second image shows words from the local community. The size of the words indicates how frequently the words were mentioned.
As you can see, many of the words are the same or very similar, and the largest words – ‘peaceful’ and ‘remembrance’ – are identical. Peace, remembrance, respect and reflection are important for everyone.
There are a greater number of words spoken by the local community and Lancaster West residents because there are a larger number of people in this group. But pretty much everything that is being said by bereaved families, survivors and those who lost their homes is being said by Lancaster West residents and others in the local community too. There is sometimes a slightly different emphasis (hence the variation in the size of the words in the word clouds), but the top-line message is almost exactly the same.
Using the four themes, we created a summary version of the word cloud and translated it into the different languages spoken by the community (see below). We tested this back and got a positive response.
Overall, we’re confident that there is common ground for how the memorial should feel, based on perspectives from bereaved families and the whole Grenfell community.
Lots of local residents we have spoken to have clearly expressed that they think bereaved families should take a lead in decision making.
A shared vision is emerging
The word cloud gives a strong overall impression of how the memorial should feel.
We turned the themes shared with us into a vision statement, which used the community’s words to describe what the memorial should be like.
The theme of ‘justice’ wasn’t part of the original first draft of the vision statement because it hadn’t come up many times in the word cloud process. We know that justice is incredibly important to the Grenfell community so after discussions with bereaved families, we added this in.
We translated the vision statement into Amharic, Arabic, Farsi, Italian, Somali and Spanish, and shared it with bereaved families, former residents and the local community.
Feedback from all these groups has been positive, and this gives us confidence that the vision statement is developing along the right lines.
Grenfell Tower memorial vision statement
The Grenfell memorial will be at its heart a peaceful place. It will provide a space for reflection and remembrance of those that lost their lives, of why this tragedy happened and the need for justice.
The memorial will reflect the Grenfell community and the love within it, evoking a sense of hope and positivity that remembers the past and looks forward to the future.
It will be a place for bereaved, survivors and members of the local community to come together.
A respectful and lasting memorial that honours those that lost their lives and their families, the survivors of the fire and members of the local community.
A garden as part of a memorial is a popular idea
We also asked people what form they would like the memorial to take. Looking at other examples from across the world, memorials usually take one or more of the following forms:
- A memorial garden, for example a wooded area or landscape with water features
- Artwork or monument, for example a statue or a stone with names
- A building, for example a museum or an open shelter
We shared the word cloud and the vision statement with bereaved families, survivors and those who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and other members of the local community, and then asked what form of memorial they thought would best reflect these themes (for example, a memorial garden, artwork, building, monument, water feature etc). There is a full breakdown of their responses in appendices 3 and 4 at the end of this report.’
30% of bereaved family members suggested an artwork or monument.
By far, the most popular form so far is a memorial garden, which was expressed by 61% of bereaved family members, 74% of survivors and those who lost their homes, 51% of Lancaster West residents and 64% of other local community members. This was the form suggested most frequently by each of these different groups.
The next most popular form was an artwork or monument. This was suggested by 30% of bereaved family members, 26% of survivors and those who lost their homes, 29% of Lancaster West residents and 33% of other local community members. Again, support for this was very consistent and similarly strong from each of the different groups.
Of course, it would also be possible to combine several of these forms. For example, we could have a garden which includes artwork. Different parts of the Grenfell Tower site might be used in different ways, so it may well be possible to include a number of elements together.
There has been interest in a building
Several people have expressed an interest in having a building. This was suggested by 13% of bereaved family members, 17% of survivors and those who lost their homes, 6% of Lancaster West residents and 10% of other local community members. Some have something relatively simple in mind – for example, a shelter that would give protection from the elements and a place for prayer and reflection. Others imagine having something more substantial, like a museum or education centre. Some people visualise a symbolic structure – for example, creating a structure as high as the Tower is now, or reusing parts of the Tower in the memorial.
A red line for almost everyone, especially bereaved families, is that the site should not be used for housing. That is not an option that is being considered.
The different suggestions for a built structure each reflect different needs. For example, the idea of a shelter reflects the need to ensure people can pray and reflect all year round. The idea of having a building for a museum speaks to the need to ensure that lessons are learnt and that the history of what happened isn’t lost. The idea of having another tall structure speaks to the need for visibility – to ensure that the tragedy isn’t ‘out of sight, out of mind’ if the Tower is gone.
The practicalities of these ideas would need a lot of thinking through, and some proposals would be easier to incorporate into the memorial than others. We hope, however, it will be possible to reflect the needs that sit underneath the suggestions, even where ideas aren’t taken forward directly. It will be important to weigh everything up and make sure that meeting one set of needs doesn’t undermine another. For example, placing a museum on the site might meet the need to educate people about the tragedy, but it would also create a tourist destination.
We’ve heard that this could make the memorial less peaceful as a place for bereaved family members to grieve, and impact on the lives of local residents.
Thinking imaginatively, there might be a variety of ways that the different needs could be met. The Memorial Commission can make recommendations to other organisations and authorities about how Grenfell should be remembered. To address the need for education about the tragedy, for example, we could recommend to the Museum of London that they have a Grenfell exhibition, or recommend to the government that a Grenfell museum or archive be built in addition to the memorial on a separate site. It might be possible to forward particular ideas through other processes, even if they are out of scope for the memorial itself.
At this early stage, we’re not judging the ideas and ruling them ‘in’ or ‘out’ – we’re exploring the options and learning what lies behind people’s suggestions, so that we can explain to a future design team what’s needed.
Certain ideas come up time and again
Throughout the conversations, people shared their thoughts about features that a memorial could have, and specific design details that are important to them. We have collected all of this into an ideas bank and will ask whoever is appointed to create the design to draw on the whole community’s input for inspiration and guidance.
Several design ideas have come up time and time again:
- The names of those who lost their lives
- This feature has been mentioned consistently across the community, and underpins the view that the memorial should be a place of remembrance.
- Some people suggest displaying the written names on their own, for example on a plaque or engraving. Others suggest including more details such as photos or stories about those who lost their lives.
- It is agreed that if there are any objections from bereaved families about how their loved ones are named or represented, these should be respected.
- A place to pray, reflect, sit and come together
- A strong theme has been that people want the memorial to create a place where they can show their respects and reflect on what happened.
- We’ve heard that the memorial must be designed to serve everyone in our diverse and multi-faith community. For example, it should have a space for prayer, and have writing in a range of languages including Arabic calligraphy.
- People have described how the memorial design should enable people to come together and feel a sense of community.
- Many people have suggested that water should be incorporated within the memorial design – perhaps through fountains, waterfalls or still-water features.
- These ideas were often connected with wanting to create a sense of peace at the memorial. People described how they find water soothing and calming.
- When people have mentioned other memorials or spaces that they like, water is a recurring feature of the designs.
- An area for children and young people
- People have suggested that a particular area could be designed for children and young people, perhaps separate from parts of the memorial that are dedicated to quiet reflection and prayer.
- This idea has been linked to people’s desire for the memorial to offer a feeling of hope, with children’s play bringing positivity and a sense of the future.
There are vital points that bereaved families have raised, such as working with the coroner to consider how unidentified remains might be laid to rest at the site. It has been suggested that an appropriate resting place might be private and sacred – with an area set aside for families to grieve in privacy.
Consistently, people have emphasised the need to reflect the diversity of the community and to be inclusive (for example, by ensuring good disabled access). People have raised the need to design the memorial to minimise the risk of vandalism and antisocial behaviour, that maintenance issues should be considered, and that it should feel safe from police intrusion (for example, stop and search).
The community has a broad range of creative ideas
This is a small selection of the hundreds of ideas that we’ve received. We’re sharing these to give you a sense of the breadth of people’s suggestions – not because any particular ideas are being pushed forward.
Bereaved families and survivors are at the heart of our work towards a memorial, but we appreciate the contributions of everyone in the community.
Designs from elsewhere can provide inspiration
Bereaved families gave us several examples of memorials and spaces which had qualities that they liked. Here are just some of them.
The Tree of Life Memorial in Budapest commemorates victims of the Holocaust. A willow tree is a traditional Jewish symbol of mourning, and this artwork depicts huge sweeping branches that pour gracefully down from all sides. The tree is made of steel, and each leaf is engraved with the name of a loved one who lost their life in the genocide.
The 9/11 memorial in New York is designed to reflect absence. The footprints where the two towers once stood were filled with enormous pools of water to create the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States. They symbolise the physical void left by the attacks and are designed to muffle the city noise to create a contemplative space. On the anniversary of the attacks each year, the Tribute in Light display recreates the shape of the twin towers by sending powerful shafts of light into the Manhattan skyline.
The Lady Diana Memorial Fountain is well known to many in the Grenfell community as it is just two miles away in Hyde Park. In the summer, the fountains are turned on and children can play in a bubbling stream that is set in a simple, sculpted landscape. A café is nearby, where you can sit to look over the park, hear the water and listen to children as they play.
The Holland Park Kyoto Garden is less than a mile from Grenfell Tower and is also well known in the community. The garden was a gift to Great Britain from the city of Kyoto, rather than a memorial. People have praised the peaceful, relaxing feeling of this garden, the way the koi carp swim under the bridges and bring it to life, and the gentle sound of the waterfall. The garden has been carefully planted to be beautiful in every season.
Several of these same examples were offered by survivors and those who lost their homes that night, residents from Lancaster West and members of the local community too. Interestingly, many people said they didn’t think it would be appropriate for the Grenfell memorial to consist only of a plaque of names (as some memorials do). They said that because of the unique nature of our tragedy and the character of our community, a fitting memorial would also be creative and imaginative.
The views of bereaved families are particularly important
We went into this process knowing that the views of bereaved families are particularly important, but we know this even more deeply now.
Many other consultation exercises just count how many people are ‘for’ or ‘against’ something, and then let the majority decide. But if decisions about the Grenfell memorial were made like this, the wishes of bereaved families could be outvoted by the much larger number of people who are part of the Grenfell community but weren’t bereaved themselves. It’s very understandable that bereaved families might worry about this.
However, reassuringly when we spoke to people from Lancaster West and the wider community about this, there was strong support for the voices of bereaved families having the greatest weight. 89% of people in the local community said they agreed (either definitely or largely) that the memorial design should reflect the hopes and vision of the bereaved families and also receive the broad support, and reflect the views of survivors and the local communit y in the area.
In other words, there is basically no appetite amongst members of the local community to create a memorial to suit themselves without considering the wishes of bereaved family members. Some people hold themselves back from sharing their views, because they feel it’s not their place to have an opinion. It’s our role as a Memorial Commission to try and develop a community consensus, and we will never make a decision ‘by numbers’ without thinking through whether it meets the needs of bereaved families as well as others. We want to hear what everyone thinks, and then we’ll share it with the community and weigh it all up.
Working towards consensus means that everyone’s views will be heard, understood and taken account of – and that we will find a way forward that respects those opinions and channels them constructively wherever possible.
Half of the community representatives on the Memorial Commission are bereaved ourselves. If you are reading this report as a bereaved family member, please know that it’s unthinkable that the memorial would be created in a way that ignored your views. That is not going to happen.
People don’t agree about everything
Working towards consensus is easier said thandone, of course. Despite the significant areas of common ground and shared opinions that we have described so far in this report, there are also very different views on some key issues.
In some instances, it will be possible to accommodate different views by being more imaginative or creating more options. For example, there are differences of opinion amongst bereaved families regarding whether the memorial should feature the names of loved ones in a simple way, or also have pictures of them and tell stories about their lives. Some families would like to share more details about their loved ones, whilst for others this idea risks sparking family conflict. Some bereaved families would like the memorial to have displays which educate people about the tragedy, whilst others want the focus of the memorial to be peace, reflection and remembrance, and don’t want being there to trigger bad memories for them.
There doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘yes/no’ choice between these different perspectives. Some of the perspectives could be accommodated together (for example, by having educational resources at the site which weren’t ‘in your face’), or could be taken forward in other ways (through a digital memorial or museum exhibition, for example). If people are open-minded and willing to accept a range of solutions, on many issues it should be possible to respect and incorporate everyone’s views in the big picture of remembering Grenfell, whilst still making clear decisions and moving forward.
Some issues are trickier though. Even with the best will in the world and all the imagination we can muster, we know that some painful choices lie ahead.
Honouring the Tower
It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of emotions that the Tower brings up, especially for bereaved families. The Tower is a sacred place, where many bereaved families feel the presence of their loved ones.
The Commission is not responsible for deciding the future of the Tower – that’s for the government. The government is doing its own consultation about the future of the Tower to inform its decision-making, but what it decides will obviously have a huge bearing on the Memorial Commission’s work. Issues regarding the Tower often come up when we talk to people about the memorial. When this happens, we pass those issues on directly to the government. Some bereaved families have asked us to stress the deep pain and sorrow that would be felt if the Tower was to come down – and the fury that would be unleashed if this happened without them being properly consulted with.
These people fear that if the Tower comes down, what happened will be forgotten. There’s a worry that if Grenfell Tower no longer marks the west London skyline, the general public will think that the tragedy has closure and it’s time to move on – and there will be less pressure to deliver justice. For some, the Tower should remain until prosecutions have been successful and there has been full accountability for what happened.
At the same time, a large number of people – particularly those living and working in the local community – tell us that living with the Tower places a huge strain on their mental health. Parents are concerned about how growing up literally in the shadow of the Tower impacts on their children. It’s not possible to know how long justice might take, and there are no guarantees that it will ever come. Waiting is costly in terms of their wellbeing.
Some have suggested ways that the memorial could bring together the different needs of people in the community. For example, some bereaved family members have proposed having something symbolic on the skyline that provides the same visibility as the Tower – and others have suggested something that is illuminated at night. Others would like to see the Tower preserved and turned into a vertical garden, with a platform at a high level and plants hanging down. Some people want a new structure that is just as high as the Tower is now, so that it can still be viewed from places like the Westway, A320 and Sainsbury’s at the top of Ladbroke Grove. One bereaved family suggested that the actual space of the Tower could be empty (like the 9/11 memorial) and the memorial could be built around the footprint.
Several bereaved family members have expressed that they would like at least part of the Tower to be protected and incorporated within the memorial, and that the building should be reused somehow. The lower floors of the building were less damaged by the fire, and there is more flexibility in how these might be used. It’s common to conserve important elements of an old building within a new project (for example, Tottenham Hotspur F.C. reused materials from White Hart Lane when building their new stadium). We’ll be taking advice from specialists and learning about the different ways this might be done. Whilst the government will decide whether the Tower remains standing or is taken down, we can make decisions about how its materials might be used in the memorial.
Different groups of people tend to have different issues at the top of their minds. For example, some bereaved family members and survivors express wanting to keep the Tower, keep the height, or keep the fabric of the building. Those who live on Lancaster West and in the local community are often keenly aware what it would be like to live with different plans – whether these would make their daily lives more difficult or enhance the local area.
Everyone seems to agree that if the Tower comes down, it should be dismantled carefully and respectfully, in a way that honours the loved ones who have passed away. The whole community is unanimous about that.
It will not be possible, truthfully, to design a memorial that provides a perfect resolution to all this. The government’s decision on the Tower will inevitably be painful, and no memorial could compensate for the depth of suffering that will be involved in determining its future.
Pain is another thing that we will hold forever in our hearts. It will be part of the memorial too.
Honouring the pain: the role of art
Part of the way forward might be to accept that we cannot make all the pain go away or make it better. We might reach a point where we can only try to express it.
There’s a saying that when pain becomes too much to bear, it transforms into the essence of art. The memorial could potentially include artwork to honour all that has been lost – our broken hearts and our peace of mind. Its task would be to hold the anguish of our community with dignity, gentleness and grace.
Incorporating artwork within the memorial was a popular idea for all parts of our community – mentioned by nearly a third of bereaved families, survivors, those who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and members of the local community. Creativity has poured out of W10 and W11 for decades, and is one of the Grenfell community’s most striking characteristics.
At its best, art has a unique power to respect where people are coming from whilst also bringing them together. Perhaps through art, our disappointment, anger, fear, guilt, and sorrow could find a place of respect at the heart of the memorial, rather than being silenced or pushed to the side.
Art works best when people need to make sense of things for themselves, and share what goes beyond words. It bears witness to the magnitude of what happened, whilst paying respect to the fact that this can never be fully conveyed.
The loss is too great. The pain is too much. The injustice is too profound. It’s like looking into the sun.
Part 2: The path forward
10. Learning from other Memorial Commissions
As we face our pain, it is comforting to know that other communities have gone through the process of creating a fitting memorial for their own tragedies. To help us in our thinking we visited the Aberfan memorial in Wales, and have spoken with the different teams who created the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the 7/7 memorial in Hyde Park, the Manchester Arena Memorial, and the UK Holocaust Memorial.
These teams shared their experience of the full process of creating a memorial – from working with bereaved families, survivors and others, to commissioning the design team, building the memorial and having it received by their communities. We’ve also heard about how they maintain their memorials for the long term.
There were many points of commonality between the different memorials. For example, most of them had appointed the design team through an open, international competition, and selected the winning submission through a panel which included bereaved families and key stakeholders as well as experts.
Amongst the many useful pieces of advice they offered, a few points particularly stood out:
- Go at the pace of the bereaved. Because of the emotions involved and other factors (such as the inquiry), it may be necessary to pause the process at times. Be prepared to start certain things all over again.
- The process of creating a memorial can be beneficial in itself. It can help bring people together. Survivors say that giving back to the community by creating ithelped ease their sense of guilt. The process of imagining a peaceful place helped those who had lost their peace of mind.
- Don’t expect all bereaved families to provide their views. For many, it will simply be too difficult and they will prefer to grieve privately. But it is important that they are all given the opportunity to do so.
- Listen to the feelings. People’s views on the specifics of the design may differ, but there will be common ground in terms of the feelings underneath.
- Don’t expect to reach a point where everyone is unanimous. With something so personal and painful, it will not be possible for everyone to agree 100%.
- Conflict over the memorial will not last forever. In other memorials, some people were against certain things during the design phase but changed their minds once the memorial was actually built.
- When it comes to balancing the needs of bereaved families, survivors and the local community, the key is about speaking to all with humanity and openness.
- Think through the practicalities and legal situation so that the memorial can be well maintained and looked after for the long term.
- The process can be as important as the memorial itself. Discussing a fitting memorial can be part of grieving, and going through an appropriate and careful process can help both individuals and the community to heal.
11. A tough lesson
None of this was easy, but at least we were starting to get our heads around it. But then, last autumn, we were knocked off course and pushed right to our limits.
On 4 September 2021, an article appeared in The Sunday Times stating that ministers were set to announce the demolition of Grenfell Tower. It said that the decision to ‘pull down’ the building was effectively a done deal, and that structural engineering experts had ‘unambiguously and unanimously’ advised the government that the Tower should go.
We were shocked, dismayed and completely blindsided. To make matters worse, we came under suspicion. Some people from the community thought that we had colluded with the government. They questioned our independence and accused us of being the government’s puppets. As bereaved family members, survivors and Lancaster West residents ourselves, we received verbal attacks from our own community.
Things had been going well up until that point – we’d been working really hard and making good progress in terms of understanding everyone’s views. It was like the rug had been pulled out from under us – like everything we’d done had been for nothing.
On 13 September 2021, we wrote to the government and told them that because of their actions we had been left with no choice other than to pause the Memorial Commission’s work. Unless they demonstrated to us that they would honour their commitments to the community, everything had to stop.
In November, we met with the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP. He apologised for what had happened and assured us that things would change. He wrote his own letter to The Sunday Times , acknowledging the upset that the story had caused and making clear thathe would take a different approach than his predecessor. He promised to hear directly from the community before making a decision about the Tower.
On the basis of these written and publicly-recorded assurances, on 18 January 2022 we resumed the Memorial Commission’s work.
The government was told from all directions that they had made a mistake, and who knows what would have happened if the community hadn’t stood up for itself. Whilst we hope not to repeat the experience, it was positive to learn that the Memorial Commission can play a part in ensuring that the Grenfell community is treated with respect.
It also taught us that our role must be crystal clear at all times, with no confusion between the Memorial Commission’s work and the government’s process. Coming through a challenge like this, we’ve learnt that as a Memorial Commission we can face difficult times, get through them and carry on.
12. Key dilemmas
So we’ve kept going – and we’ve been making progress!
Whilst there are many challenges ahead, we’re clear on what our key dilemmas are.
Meeting every request, versus meeting them as best we can
People have a right to have strong views about the memorial, and it’s crucial that we understand what matters most. Sometimes, however, we have to manage competing views – where some people think the memorial should be one way, and other people think it should be another.
It’s our job to work openly, inclusively and transparently to develop a community consensus on the future of the Grenfell Tower site – but what does a community consensus really look like? What would enough look like? How should we interpret people’s silence?
As community representatives, how should we know when to move ahead with something?
We want the memorial to serve the community as well as it can – but we understand that perfect solutions do not exist. If we can’t see a way to reconcile the different perspectives, is that because they genuinely can’t be reconciled? At what point can we say we’ve done all we can? What kinds of compromises would be ok?
How can we avoid being in a position where only a very small number of people have to object in order for the whole process to grind to a halt? How can we balance the needs of bereaved families alongside survivors, those who lost their homes that night, Lancaster West residents and people who live and work in the community now?
Using all the ideas, versus letting some ideas go
People have said very clearly that they want the memorial to be a peaceful place. It wouldn’t feel peaceful if the memorial was cluttered with every single idea, or if we filled the space with a muddle that’s a little bit of everything.
Which ideas should we put first? Which ones should we let go? If we let go of some ideas, will people think that they haven’t been listened to? How can we address the needs that lie underneath ideas when it’s not possible to keep the ideas themselves? How could we channel ideas into the broader effort to remember Grenfell, without leaving people feeling like their views have been sidelined?
Grenfell is a diverse community and that has always been its strength. How can we create a memorial that is well thought-through and coherent, that values the richness of our different cultures, and that also creates an atmosphere of peace and remembrance?
Giving it time, versus making decisions
It’s crucial to work at the right pace for the whole community – especially for bereaved families, and not to be rushed into hasty decisions. But what if we wait too long?
If the process drags, will people lose trust in the process and become disillusioned with our work? Will they become more entrenched in their positions and less able to compromise or be imaginative? Will people lose interest? Will energy for the whole memorial project dissipate? Could we end up with no memorial at all?
If we move too quickly, people might think the process is being rushed. With the Inquiry putting so much stress and pressure on people, would we actually make more progress if we eased off for a bit? Would we end up with a more fitting memorial by being more patient than we already have been?
Not making a decision is, of course, a decision in itself. Collectively, we cannot live with the situation as it is now. We need a place of peace.
These are only some of the many questions that preoccupy the Memorial Commission.
13. What’s coming up
The journey towards a fitting memorial will have three phases: 1) Setting out what the community want and need 2) Choosing a design team and agreeing on a design, and 3) Building the memorial.
We’ve already done most of the work for Phase 1. There are some key issues that still need to be worked through before we can reach our next big milestone – publishing a design brief.
This will be a set of instructions for what the memorial needs to be like. The design brief will be used to run a competition for choosing a design team, and will put us on the path to agreeing a design.
Over the next month...
- We will be joining in the community commemorations for the fifth anniversary of the tragedy on 14 June, placing additional trees and artwork at the hoarding and producing a video to share our reflections.
- We’ll listen to feedback on this report and answer questions about any issues that have been raised.
Over the summer...
- We’ll hear any additional contributions and reach out to those we haven’theard from yet, especially bereaved families and survivors who haven’t yet shared their views. As well as continuing to hold conversations, we’ll be creating an online questionnaire for those who would rather give views that way.
- We’ll work with experts to understand what will be feasible for the site area (including any constraints, opportunities and impacts on the surrounding area), and discuss any issues with public authorities.
- We’ll choose independent experts who will advise us on how elements of the Tower could be conserved and reused in the memorial. They will help us to draw up guidance for including this as a specification within the design brief.
- We’ll be asking further questions about the community’s hopes for the memorial. For example, how do people want to use the space and what kinds of practical activities does the community want to be able to do?
Over the next year...
- We’ll explore the options for how the memorial should be legally owned so that it can be maintained and protected for the long-term, and think these through with the community.
- We’ll be working with bereaved families and the coroner to consider how the unidentified remains might be laid to rest, and how to include this in the design brief if needed.
- We’ll be considering ideas for making sure the Grenfell tragedy is remembered beyond the memorial, such as digital memorialisation and a museum off site. We’ll look at who would make decisions on these.
- We’ll work with the community and experts to decide how a design competition should work, who should be able to enter and how the entries should be judged.
Throughout all this, we’ll be working with the government to make sure that bereaved families and the community aren’t being pulled in two directions. That is, that the government’s process to make decisions about the Tower takes account of our process to create the memorial, and vice versa. The Memorial Commission never has any insider information about the government’s decisions, but we always scrutinise whatever they make public. We’ll challenge the government when needed, and organise our plans for the memorial to take account of the situation as it develops.
There will be no shortage of opportunities for you to get involved! We’ll be holding regular open meetings and drop-ins, and reaching out to those we haven’theard from yet. Our work and decision-making will always be shared transparently on our website – and we’ll offer regular updates to let you know what’s being discussed and how you can take part.
Once we’ve got the information needed to complete Phase 1, we’ll publish our next report to share this all back to you. We’ll give everyone a chance to share their thoughts or give extra suggestions, and then we’ll use everything we’ve heard to put together the design brief. Then it’ll be onto Phase 2!
14. A long road
Those of us who are people of faith pray for guidance as we undertake these tasks. Whether we speak to Allah, Brahman, God, Jah, Jesus or the stillness inside ourselves, we ask to be given the strength to continue on our journey.
And we’d like to ask you to give us this strength, too.
The Memorial Commission will only be able to continue walking towards a place of peace if we are accompanied by power that is bigger than ourselves. As individuals who have been elected to our roles to represent the whole community, we cannot walk th is path alone.
That means walking with yourselves – the bereaved families, survivors, people who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and members of the community in North Kensington. It means knowing that we, as your representatives, are able to draw on the full power and strength of the Grenfell community. This power and strength has emerged time and time again, throughout everything we’ve been through. It’s what keeps us going.
You can make a big difference to our work just by giving us five minutes of your time. You don’t have to come to every meeting or get involved in every discussion – often, all we need is a few thoughts or quick responses. If you’re happy with how things are going or don’t have much to add, telling us that is helpful too!
As human beings, we know that we will each find ourselves resting in peace eventually. We also have faith that Grenfell can have a fitting memorial within our lifetimes – a peaceful place where people can physically go. Maybe it will take a few years, or maybe it will take longer. We will go as fast as possible, and as slow as necessary, as we walk towards this together.
Whether you are a bereaved family member, a survivor, someone who lost their home that night, a resident of the Lancaster West Estate or a member of the local community of North Kensington, we hope you will come with us on the journey too.
15. Be part of our journey
If you have thoughts or suggestions about anything in this report, or you’d like to discuss our work in any way, we’d love to hear from you.
- Speak to us at one of our drop-ins. The next sessions will be on Saturday 4 June and 2 July, and we always have refreshments and activities for children.
- Come along to one of our open meetings. Our calendar of upcoming meetings is on our website (please go to www.grenfelltowermemorial.co.uk/news and click on ‘dates for your diary’). We can arrange translation support if you want it.
- Email us at GTMCSecretariat@levellingup.gov.uk
- Call us on 0303 444 4831
- Go to our contact page to send us your ideas, to directly contact the representatives or sign up to our newsletter: www.grenfelltowermemorial.co.uk/contact
- Follow our regular updates on Instagram and Twitter (@GrenfellTowerMC)
16. Thank you!
We’re incredibly grateful to the bereaved family members, survivors, people who lost their homes, Lancaster West residents and members of the local community who have shared their views about the memorial and supported our work. We know what it takes to discuss something so sensitive – especially for bereaved family members – and are thankful for every contribution, big and small.
We also appreciate the professionals who have boosted the capacity of our voluntary team. Additional engagement services were provided by Kaizen. Stephanie Edwards provides expertise as our independent design advisor, and Amy Pollard served as writer to the Memorial Commission.
We couldn’t have got to where we are without the support of so many community organisations and individuals sharing their time and spaces for our engagement. Thank you to the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre, BAY20, the ClementJames Centre, Kensington Leisure Centre and The Curve Community Centre for hosting our community drop-ins. Thank you to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the use of your boardroom for our monthly meetings. Thank you to Paprika Williams, Sue Duggins, Learna Oliffe, and others for running art activities at our events. Thank you to Constantine Gras for your unending support and artistic talent. Thank you to all the community groups who have met with the co-chairs to give their views and advice, and who support us on social media.
We’re grateful to our chairs, Thelma Stober and Michael Lockwood, who have never missed a Memorial Commission meeting they were invited to. Thanks also go to our dedicated secretariat – Eleanor, Daisy and the team – whose administrative support plays a crucial role in ensuring the Memorial Commission’s activities match our ambitions. This includes Charlotte and her team, for their help in getting our communications out to this community. We also want to thank our public authority representatives – Ayesha Hameed, Matt Hogan, Robyn Doran, Sue Harris and Suzanne Kochanowski – for giving us their time and advice.
Finally, we thank our friends and family. Without their practical support, patience, understanding and love, our work as community representatives would not be possible.
Appendix 1: how many people have engaged with us and how?
|How many shared views with Kaizen||How many shared views with community representatives and secretariat||How many shared views on memorial with DLUHC*||Total who have shared views||Total who have engaged (includes online meeting attendance)||Total
number of bereaved individuals, former or current local residents
|Total bereaved individuals who shared a view on the memorial||14||50||3||67||78||Around 320**|
|Grenfell Tower former residents||8||12||1||21||24||Around 360**|
|Grenfell Walk former residents||5||1||0||6||6||Around 70**|
|Total former residents (from the Tower and Grenfell Walk) who shared a view on the memorial||13||13||1||27||30||Around 430**|
|Lancaster West residents||459||18||0||477||1,700|
|All community residents including Lancaster West||1,861||116||1||1,978||N/A|
|Total individuals who shared a view on the memorial||1,888||179||5||2,072||N/A|
|* The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has not asked anyone for views on a memorial but has occasionally been given them during conversations about the Tower.
** This includes children born after the fire and subsequent partners.
Appendix 2: % of all words (given by people in response to the question, ‘which three words would you want to describe the memorial?’) within the four emerging themes
|Total||Peaceful and reflective||Respectful and remembrance||Community and love||Hope and positive|
|Bereaved and survivors||86%||34%||30%||14%||8%|
Appendix 3: views on the physical form of the memorial
|All bereaved and
|Garden or landscape||66%||61%||74%||51%||64%|
|Artwork or monument||30%||30%||26%||29%||33%|
Appendix 4: views on the elements of the memorial
|All bereaved and
|Bereaved only||Survivors only||Lancaster West
|Place to sit/reflect/for the community to come together||49%||43%||61%||33%||31%|
|Names of those who lost their lives||44%||48%||39%||27%||23%|
|Place for children/young people||21%||20%||26%||9%||12%|
|Height (reflecting the size of the Tower)||10%||11%||4%||1%||2%|
|Using the full structure of the Tower||10%||11%||9%||2%||2%|
|Using elements or part of the Tower in the memorial (the footprint or parts of the Tower)||7%||4%||13%||1%||1%|
|Using part of the structure of the Tower (reduced height to bottom 4–5 floors)||3%||4%||0%||<1%||<1%|
(All data has been compiled and analysed by Kaizen.)
Appendix 5: what has happened so far, and what can you expect?
(Please note that these timings are indicative, based on our current expectations and engagement findings.)
|September 2019 – June 2020||The Memorial Commission’s membership is finalised. Introductions with the bereaved, former residents and wider community begin and initial ideas heard.
Meetings take place to establish the Commission’s aims, approach, and ways of working.
|September 2020 – April 2022||Ideas-gathering and listening begins, carried out by the Memorial Commission with support from Kaizen, a community engagement specialist. This happens via one-to-one conversations with bereaved families, phone and email conversations, online surveys, street outreach and knocking on doors of local residents. There are online meetings and, once permitted by Covid-19 rules, ‘drop-ins’ close to the Tower.
The Memorial Commission asks how the memorial should feel, what form would reflect this, and other early questions on issues like ownership. Initial insights are shared with the community as we go.
|May 2022 – June 2022||Our ‘Remembering Grenfell’ report is published, followed by the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.|
|July 2022 – January 2023||The Memorial Commission continues to hold conversations, workshops and meetings with the community, focussing on areas we haven’t covered in detail such as ownership, reuse of materials from the Tower and how the memorial will be used. We will focus especially on groups we have spoken less with.
We will work with public authorities, and also with experts, to understand the potential of the site and how elements of the Tower could be included in the memorial.
|January 2023 – March 2023||We will share all our findings in our second report and the community will be invited to ask questions and share any concerns. We will use what we have heard, site details and the input of experts to develop a design brief. This will define the type of team needed, such as architects, landscape architects or artists, and will capture the key elements that the design team should consider.|
|April 2023 – April 2024||The design team will be chosen in a public competition. They will need the right expertise to develop the memorial, as well as involving us and the community in the development of the final design.|
|December 2024||We and the community will be able to agree the final design, before the final planning permission is then sought. The memorial build process begins.|