Wellington Arch London, If Paris has Arc de Triomphe, London has Wellington Arch. Also known as the Constitution Arch, Wellington Arch is a triumphal arch built upon King George IV to commemorate Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars. It is located in the central London to the south of Hyde Park and at the western corner of Green Park. It is now one of London’s landmarks and a famous tourist attraction.
Built in 1836-1830, Wellington Arch was designed by Decimus Burton and originally located at the entrance of Hyde Park as a part of Burton’s screen and a grand route toward Buckingham Palace. The arch was then moved to its current position in 1882. Now, the Arch serves as the entrance to Constitution Hill, hence the name Constitution Arch.
In its original location, Wellington Arch was chosen to bear the statue of the 1st Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, who was also the Prime Minister at that time. The bronze statue was designed by Matthew Coates Wyatt and placed on the top of the arch in 1846. However, due to heavy criticism, it was then moved to Aldershot in 1912.
The place of the statue then was replaced by a quadriga statue by Adrian Jones funded by Lord Michelham of Hellingly. The statue depicts peace angel descends onto a war chariot. It is a smaller version of the original Edward VII at the Royal Academy exhibition but recorded as the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.
Wellington Arch London Functions
Since there is a hollow room inside the arch, it has been used for several functions. Wellington Arch served as a small police station back in 1992. In 1999, when its ownership was transferred to English Heritage, it is open to the public and exhibits the history of the arch. Visitors can also go up to the top of the arch and enjoy the view of the surrounding area from there.
Interestingly, the one side of Wellington Arch also functions as the ventilation shaft for the Underground network. This means that there is smoke frequently escaping the top of the arch. This results in at least three reports per year to the London Fire Brigade from people who believe that there is a fire.
Visiting Wellington Arch
Address : Apsley Way, Hyde Park Corner, London – W1J 7JZ
Ticket prices: Adult £4.00
Child (5-15 yo) £2.40
Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 16.00.