The wonderful city we all know as London is awash with many memorials and monuments, most of which are magnificent and amazing to gaze upon. In this piece we have chosen five such works of art to talk about and we will work on more articles revealing some the wonderful monuments and memorials of this wondrous city.
5 Wonderful Monuments and Memorials in London
Prince Albert Memorial
This is a visually stunning monument and memorial build in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. Designed by George Gilbert Scott, it’s location in Kensington Gardens opposite the Royal Albert Hall is uniquely stunning. The monument itself is one of London’s most ornate and gazing upon it simply leave people amazed. The Victorian era was an era of extravaganza and this wonderful gothic monument is a great example of the opulence and extravaganza that embodied that era. It’s official name is “The Prince Consort National Memorial” and it not only displays Britain’s achievements with the growth of the Victorian Empire, but also astutely displays Albert’s many interests in the arts. it was unveiled in 1872, eleven years after Prince Albert’s untimely death at age of 42 after contracting typhoid fever in 1861. It is truly a magnificent place to relax and enjoy a coffee. Why not join one of our Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens walking tours and discover more about the monument
St Paul’s Cathedral
Christopher Wren is a man considered by many the most important architect in British history and after having been given the job to rebuild London after the great fire of 1666 and many other buildings all across England, he has certainly earned that honour! Included in many of his magnificent buildings are The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich and the Royal Hospital at Chelsea are among the best buildings in London, but his masterpiece is St Paul’s Cathedral. Wren himself is buried in the south side of crypt (sharing the crypt with other mighty juggernauts in English history like the Duke of Wellington and Admiral Horatio Nelson) and his resting place is marked by a simple stone with a Latin epitaph etched across it. When translated into English the Epitaph reads “Reader, if you seek his monument, look around you.” It refers to St Paul’s cathedral which is one of the few monuments dedicated to the prolific man that was Sir Christopher Wren. The cathedral is a grand building and considering that it was designed and built between 1666 and 1710 it is a magnificent feat of architecture that displaying what many consider the greatest building in London. St Paul’s Cathedral is a wonderful place to be visited and simply admired. Why not join us of one of our many tours that end here or go past St Paul’s and learn more about this fantastic place.
The Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park is one of the best places in London for quiet and peaceful reflection, thought or an opportunity to get away from the noise and bustle of London and take in some relaxing river views. The Peace Pagoda was presented to the people of London in 1984 as a gift by one of Mahatma Ghandi’s close friends. Unfortunately, The Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji (affectionately dubbed Guruji by his followers) died in 1985 and the grand old age of 100, just before being able to see the completed Pagoda. While the donor may have passed before the completion of the Pagoda is one of the greatest gifts to be found in London. He was the founder of the Japanese Buddhist movement known as Nipponzan Mhyohoji. The core beliefs of the movement are faith in the idea that civilisation should not make war, destroy things, kill human beings and most of all should respect one another and hold mutual affection. After the terrible events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji promised to have 80 pagodas as shrines to peace. The Battersea Pagoda was built by monks, nuns and other members of this movement. The Pagoda rivals the Albert Memorial in grandiosity and is considered sacred. In a series of magnificent gilded bronze statues, it tells the story of some of the most important stages in the Buddha’s life. These are the stages of birth, contemplation as the path to enlightenment, teaching and death. There are now, thanks to Nichidatsu Fuji’s pledge, 80 peace pagoda’s around the world and one is not as far as you might imagine. It’s older brother can actually be found in Milton Keynes.
Animals in War Memorial
The Animals in War Memorial is a touching monument exploring our relationship with animals, particularly the animals that help us in our countless wars. It has an inscription that reads “They had no choice” which acutely highlights how cruel we as human beings treat our fellow inhabitants on the earth. On a lower level you have heavily laden mules carrying equipment and goods as they appear to be approaching some steps that lead to a gap in the wall. In World War II several mules had their throats cut while treading through the Burmese jungles so that they would not alert enemies as to the troupe’s approach. Ahead of the mules, on the other side of the wall you have a horse and a dog that is looking away into the distance where you find a garden. This monument is an important acknowledgment to humanity’s fraught relationship with animals. It is, while being painful to acknowledge, a touching and beautiful memorial to the many animals lost in the field of human conflict. The memorial cost two million pounds and has the haunting silhouettes of several other animals including elephants, camels, oxen, cats and even glow worms (which were used as a source of light by soldiers), to mention a few, that were used by our armies in several wars. Located in Park Lane, this memorial is a tribute to animals that everyone should see.
Here we have another Sir Christopher Wren entry. Wren worked in close consultation with fellow astronomer and architect Dr Robert Hooke when designing this wonderful monument. The Monument of London is designed to commemorate and remember the events of the great fire of 1666 which destroyed two thirds of the City of London. At the base of the monument (among other curious things) you have a frieze depicting Charles II (the king during the Great Fire) saving a lady who is the representation of London from downfall. During the blitz in World War the monument, like St Paul’s withstood the worst of the bombing and only suffered superficial damage at it’s base. An interesting thing about the blitz is that of the first heavy duty bombs to be dropped by the Nazis actually fell in King William Street which is about 202ft away from the monument to the monument and 202ft is the exact height of the monument itself. Being so high also means that for the small fee of £4 you actually ascend the 311 stairs leading to the top of the monument and marvel at the wonderful 360 degree panoramic views of London. It is a magnificent sight and one that all Londoners should enjoy. Why not join us on one of our Tower Walk tours which is an Idyllic walk along the river and goes past a lovely view of The Monument of London?
Let us know of any monuments you think are wonderful and you would like us to write about.