diamond geezer

 Monday, October 17, 2005

Trafalgar Square (1): The square
Trafalgar Square has long been the focal point of London. There's an extensive history of mass gatherings in the square - a magnet for political protests from Chartist rallies to the poll tax riots. More recently, following the pedestrianisation of the north terrace, it's become a place of shared celebration and commemoration. Here for example is a webcam shot of the square snapped yesterday afternoon during Uncle Ken's Divali festivities (presumably nobody told him that Divali is next month). We're a bit far away to see the happy smiling faces, the inspirational multi-ethnic banners and the few remaining pigeons, but trust me they're all present. But it wasn't always like this.

There was no square here 200 years ago, just the open courtyard of the Kings Mews stables which served Whitehall Palace. It was John Nash's idea to demolish the "filthy and disreputable abodes" of the Mews to create an open public space "to add to the beauty of the approach from Westminster to Charing Cross, a Square open to and looking down Parliament Street (where) the greatest part of the population of the Metropolis meet and diverge." Most of the design work was carried out by Sir Charles Barry who, in response to the sloping site, came up with the idea of a central paved square linked to a northern terrace via several sets of steps. And the square's not quite square either, being wider east-west than it is tall, with a a sort of pointy bit down south to fit the local road pattern. Opened in the 1830s this was originally to be called King William the Fourth's Square after the new monarch, but thankfully wasn't because that would have been a bit of a mouthful. However the Nelson myth was already strong, and nowhere in London had yet been named in honour of the nation's greatest sailor, and so Trafalgar Square it became instead. Huzzah!

geezer in the Square (previous visits):
Rugby World Cup celebrations
Pet Shop Boys - Battleship Potemkin
2012 Olympic announcement
[What major events have you attended here?]


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream