Nelsons column, U.K.

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Nelsons column, London
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Built between 1840 and 1843, Nelsons column still resides on Trafalgar square.
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Information about Nelsons column

The column was built between 1840 and 1843 to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The 5.5m (18ft) statue of Nelson stands on top of a 46 m (151 ft) granite column. The statue faces south, towards the Palace of Westminster and along Pall Mall, where his ships are represented on the top of each flagpole. The top of the Corinthian column (based on one from the Temple of Mars Ultor in Rome) is decorated with bronze acanthus leaves cast from British cannons. The square pedestal is decorated with four bronze panels, cast from captured French guns, depicting Nelson's four great victories.

The monument was designed by architect William Railton in 1838, and built by the firm Peto & Grissell. Railton's original 1:22-scale stone model is exhibited at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The sandstone statue at the top was sculpted by E.H. Baily, a member of the Royal Academy; a small bronze plaque crediting him is at the base of the statue. The four bronze panels around the pedestal were undertaken by the sculptors Musgrave Watson, John Ternouth, William F Woodington, and John Edward Carew. The entire monument was built at a cost of 47,500 pounds, or 3.5 million pounds in 2004 terms.

The column was refurbished in 2006. It was scaffolded from top to bottom for access. Steam cleaning was used together with gentle abrasives to minimise any harmful impact on the brass and stonework. The work was performed by David Ball Restoration Ltd. of Peckham, south London, which also handles maintenance for about 60 other monuments around London. The 420,000 cost was met by the Zurich Insurance, which advertised on the scaffolding for the duration of the work. Before restoration began, laser surveys were taken during which it was found that the column was significantly shorter than the usually quoted 185ft. In fact, it is only 169ft 5in from the bottom of the first step on the pedestal to the tip of the admiral's hat.

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