The politest statue in London

Doffing his hat to the cars whirring around Holborn Circus, and regally isolated from pedestrians by them, Prince Albert’s statue is ignored by all. It’s a bit of a comedown for the man Queen Victoria mourned for 40 years and whose efforts gave us the Albert Hall and the Science, Natural History and V&A museums.

Continue reading “The politest statue in London”

Moving statues No.2: Wellington

Wellington at Aldershot

Queen Anne moving from St Paul’s to Sussex (see post below) reminded me of Wellington’s statue at Aldershot (above). Made from 40 tons of bronze, mainly from cannon captured at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the statue of Wellington (victor of the battle) on his famous horse, Copenhagen, is nearly 30 feet high and 26 feet long. Sculpted by Matthew Wyatt in 1846, it originally sat atop Constitution Arch (which is why it is now commonly  known as Wellington Arch). The illustration below shows how out of scale it was.

Even Queen Victoria thought it spoiled her view from Buckingham Palace but such was the popularity of Wellington that it could not be moved until after he died in 1852 at the age of 83. It was another 30 years before Hyde Park Corner was realigned because of increasing traffic, when the statue was taken down and moved to Green Park, being replaced with the present figure of Victory in her chariot.

In 1883, the Prince of Wales suggested that the statue should go to the home of the British Army. It took four days to move it, using a team of 16 horses, to where it now stands on Round Hill in Wellesley Road, Aldershot.

Wellington on Constitution Arch

The statue of Queen Anne at St Paul’s

ANNE was Queen when St Paul’s was built in 1710. The weather-beaten original of this 1712 sculpture by Francis Bird was replaced with a replica by Richard Belt in 1885. The figures on the base represent England, Ireland, France and North America, all of which Queen Anne laid claim to. Note the Royal Coat of Arms of the time are quartered with the French Fleur-di-Lis as well as the Irish Harp and English Lions. Continue reading “The statue of Queen Anne at St Paul’s”