The Triumphal Arch of Wellington

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The Triumphal Arch of Wellington, known also as Wellington Arch, Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch is located in Hyde Park in the center of London. It created the outer gateway to Constitution Hill and therefore west entrance to the central London. Together with the Marble Arch, it was built to commemorate Britain’s victories in Napoleonic Wars.

Wellington Arch was planned by George IV in 1825 and built between 1826 and 1830. The designer became Decimus Burton. Originally the arch was supposed to be extensively decorated, but due to King’s high expenses in refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the external ornamentation was omitted.

In 1846 the Arch was crowned by the huge equestrian statue of 1st Duke of Wellington – Sir Arthur Wellesley. The statue created by Matthew Cotes Wyatt was accepted with controversy because of its proportions (it was 8.5 metres high). The statue was removed as the Arch was relocated in 1882 – 1883. It was moved to its present location, on Hyde Park Corner. Nowadays it stands on a traffic island.

The statue of Duke Wellington was finally replaced in 1912 by a huge Quadriga designed by Adrian Jones. The sculpture is made of bronze (it is the largest bronze statue in Europe) and it depicts the angel of peace descending on the chariot of war. The charioteer has the face of a little boy (son of Lord Michelham who funded the sculpture).

The Wellington Arch used to be the second smallest police station in London until 1992. After it became part of English Heritage and since 1999 there has been a small museum showing the history of the arch.
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