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Saturday, 27 October 2012

London Monopoly (15): Trafalgar Square

This is the last property in the 'red' set in my tour around the London Monopoly board
In 1805 Britain was the world's supreme naval power when a fleet of the Royal Navy led by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson defeated the combined navies of Napoleon's France and Spain. Although they were outnumbered, the Royal navy, using Nelson's extra-ordinary tactics destroyed the enemy fleets off of Cape Trafalgar (Arabic: Tarf al-Gharb meaning 'Western Cape') on Spain's Atlantic coast near Cadiz.

JMW Turner. The Battle of Trafalgar as seen from the mizen starboard shrouds of HMS Victory

Naturally, Nelson became a hero in Britain and in 1830 the square, which was already in existence, was named after the famous battle. In 1842 Nelson's Column was erected and shortly after that the two fountains were built.
Today Trafalgar Square is seen as a major focal point and is the epicentre of Great Britain; it is the place where large celebrations and political rallies and protests are held and can fairly be considered to be the place where democracy is at it's strongest in this country.
For the last ten years the north side of the square, in front of the National Gallery, has been pedestrianised and traffic free. The church of Saint-Martin-in-the Fields and Edith Cavell's statue now have high quality paving all around giving a fine aspect.
The square is Crown property which, technically, means it's owned by the Queen.
Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery in the background

A lovely watercolour of Trafalgar Square with the tower of Big Ben in the distance and lower half of Nelson's Column in the foreground.

Next in this series: 
The rather lovely Fenchurch Street Station.


Alicia said...

I am so enjoying this series, Bazza. Your posts are informative, and you choose wonderful images.

It's been nearly 30 years since I was in London, but I remember being astounded that there actually was a "St. Martin-in-the-Fields." As a lover of classical music, I was well familiar with the Academy of St M in the F, but it never occurred to me that it was real, if that makes any sense.

bazza said...

Alicia: On the BBC's classical music radio station (imaginatively named 'Radio Three') the phrase "and that was played by the Academy of St -Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Sir Neville Mariner" (who founded the Academy in 1959) is etched into my memory! These days they have dropped the hyphenated spelling but the church hasn't.
Thanks for your visit Alicia; it's always a pleasure.

David said...

Dear bazza,
At last, a place I've been to. Hasn't there been some sort of art project recently in Trafalgar Square, bazza, where they erected various works onto some of the plinths (if that's the right word!), or was this somewhere else in London?
Greatly enjoying this informative journey.
Very Best Wishes,

bazza said...

Hi David. You are correct about the various art projects being placed on the empty plinths. They had some very avant-garde stuff apparently.
I love Trafalgar Square; I guess that if you don't get down to London too often it must seem like a foreign capital! I try not to take our city for granted. Many Londoners have never been to the Tower of London or some of the great museums but I do endeavour to see what I can.

joanne fox said...

I didn't know the top bit had been pedestrianised. It looks much better, judging from your photo, and it was always hard to cross over there. An informative post, as always.

bazza said...

Hello Joanne. Yes the whole area is much nicer now - especially as they have banned pigeon feeding!

klahanie said...

Hi bazza,

As per usual, an excellent and informative posting from your good self.

And once again, you have me yearning to get back down to London. I cannot quite make out who did that superb watercolour in that last image. Can you possibly enlighten on that? Thank you, bazza.


bazza said...

Hi Gary. It was a oversight by me in not naming the artist. It was an Australian painter named Wayne Roberts.
There would be a lot to see in London if it's a while since you were here!

Dixie said...

Hello Bazza: I would enjoy seeing the Trafalgar Square. So much beauty and I'm over here, across the pond

The works of JMW Turner have always been some of my favourites. His battle scenes are so realistic I often feel I'm in the battle too.

Wayne Roberts is new to me; I'll be checking out his other works.

I agree with others: love this series!!

John said...

Another fascinating post Bazza! I particularly love the last painting, I could quite easily have that hanging on my wall!
If you get a chance check out my new (other ) blog at
Look at my new blog 'Fragments of the Past'

bazza said...

Dixie: There are quite a few London scenes painted by that talented watercolourist; you can find them on line.
If you enjoy this series half as much as I have enjoyed writing then....I've enjoyed it twice as much as you ;)

bazza said...

John: Me too. It's a very attractive painting.
I have visited your new site and it looks like another winner! I have subscribed already.

All Consuming said...

Trafalgar Square disturbs me, no, I don't know why haha, the same with the houses of Parliament and Big Ben. But the paintings, I like very much :D

bazza said...

AC: Poor Old Trafalgar Square. It's completely innocent, I tell you!
You can't beat a good watercolour can you?

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DJK said...

The column commenerates Nelson; the fountains Beatty and Jellicoe. Had Jutland been a decisive victory, there might have been a second column.

bazza said...

Maria: I don't have a Twitter or Facebook page but you are welcome to follow this Blog!
I visited your lovely style Blog and can recommend it to any reader.

bazza said...

DJK: Thanks for that interesting snippet of information. It always adds to the interest of a post when readers can contribute something!