Trafalgar Square and Admiralty Arch
Trafalgar Square, a tribute to national hero Viscount Nelson, on a rainy April day.
Charing Cross, Leicester Square
Right: Mermaid and dolphins fountain, Left: Landseer bronze lion
Trafalgar Square, replacing John Nash's square of the 1820's, was remodelled by architect, Charles Barry, in 1840 by creating the northern terrace and installing the steps. It is located at the intersections of Pall Mall, The Mall and Charing Cross Roads.
The square is dedicated to the heroics of Admiral Horatio Viscount Nelson (1758-1805,) who's likeness is depicted by an 18 foot-tall statue atop the 172 foot column in the center of the square. The British national hero, Admiral Nelson, was killed as he defeated the French and Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The statue was designed by E. H. Bailey and the column by William Railton in the 1830's. The relief sculptures on each aspect of the column's base done by Ternouth, Woodington, Watson and Carew. Additionally, there are four large bronze lions, created by Edward Landseer, guarding the base of the column.
The square is across from Admiralty Arch, which opens up to The Mall and is in front of the National Gallery, built by Wilkins between 1832-38. Some feel the Gallery is without the stature to dominate the lofty northern end of Trafalgar Square. The Sainsbury Wing, a modern addition to the National Gallery, is remarkably austere. Some of the other buildings surrounding the square, however, are much newer.
The Canada House, with it's beautiful Ionic columns, was constructed from 1824 to 1827. Admiralty Arch, built by Aston Webb in 1911, is part of the National Monument to Queen Victoria. Finally, the South Africa building of 1935 sports interesting sculpture.
Trafalgar Square is home to many sculptures and statuary. A substantial fountain (created in 1845 as an afterthought,) has four copper mermaids/men and dolphins sculptures, added much later in 1939 by Charles Wheeler and W. McMillan, adorning it. The equestrian Monument to Charles I was made in 1633 by Le Sueur and sits on a traffic island. The four large pedestals positioned around the square are home to 3 statues, an equestrian of George IV by Chantrey and Earle, Havelock by Behnes (1861) and Napier of 1855 by Adams. The fourth pedestal has nothing atop it for the present. There are several other lesser statues and sculpture adorning Trafalgar Square as well.
Trafalgar Square is rarely devoid of people. It is also reknowned for the hundreds of pigeons who make the square their home. The public is discouraged from feeding the birds because of the damage done to nearby buildings by pigeon droppings.
Sir Aston Webb created Admiralty Arch, situated at the entrance to The Mall and across from Trafalgar Square. The structure was completed in 1910. The facade reads:
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Last Updated: 27 January 2003
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