Monday, October 28, 2013
So, why isn't there a huge statue of Wellington in London?
However, for fans of the Duke of Wellington, there's not very much at all. You can go and take a look at the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, providing the traffic doesn't get you first, or perhaps pay your money and go an see both Wellington and Nelson in the crypt at St Paul's.
So why doesn't Arthur Wellesley get a monstrous great ugly statue in the middle of the capital, paid for by a grateful people.
The trouble was, it being outside the Iron Duke's front door, they couldn't whip it away elsewhere until after he was dead and buried. So, a suitable time after his death, it was moved from Hyde Park Corner, and given to the military town of Aldershot, safe in the knowledge that the army would look after it.
So they stuck it on a big hill, and it eventually disappeared behind some trees, mainly because it still looks hideous. Even now, looked after by a friends committee, the trees have been cut back, but it still looks a sorry site perched on top of a muddy hill covered in bushes and empty drinks cans.
A far fitting monument to the great man is only about ten miles away, a beautiful column topped by a statue of Wellesley at his old estate at Stratfield Saye. At the end of an avenue (which forms part of my commute to work), it looks every inch the tribute when the sun sets behind it in the evening. This, in fact: