Trafalgar Square

public space and tourist attraction in central London

Trafalgar Square is in the heart of London and is a large pedestrian square that is bounded on three sides by roads. It serves as a refuge and a major traffic intersection. Important roads go from the square: Whitehall goes to Parliament, the Mall goes to Buckingham Palace and the Strand goes to the City of London. The square is also close to Covent Garden and Charing Cross station.[1]

The Trafalgar fountain

More than 15 million people go to visit there every year. It contains a large statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The square celebrates the Battle of Trafalgar, which was fought in 1805, and contains Nelson's Column, a statue of Nelson mounted on a tall column, with four statues of lions around it. The column is 56 m tall, and the statue is 5 m tall. The National Art Gallery is one of several important buildings facing the Square.

A point in Trafalgar Square is regarded as the official centre of London in legislation, and when measuring distances from the capital.[2]

Uses change

The square is visited by many tourists, mainly for pleasure and relaxation. There are, however, meetings and demonstrations in the square.

When the square was first built, demonstrations were banned. The ban lasted until the 1880s, when the new labour movement started to hold demonstrations. One group that did so was the Social Democratic Federation. On "Black Monday", on 6 February 1886, there was a major demonstration about unemployment that led to a riot in Pall Mall.

There were demonstrations in the 1980s against South African apartheid. In 1990, there were riots against the poll tax. In the 2000s, there were demonstrations against the Iraq War.

In recent years the square has become a gathering place for celebrations. When England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003, thousands of fans gathered in the square. Public festivities again happened when London won its bid to hold the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

The square was also the scene of a large gathering after the terrorist bombings in London on 7 July 2005.

Past change

The Square was last dug up in the 19th century in preparation to its present format. Discovered were the skeletons of lion, woolly mammoth, hippopotamus, and hyaenas. Very similar species were found in East London when Ilford was dug up.

The warm stage lasted from 125,000 to 24,000 years ago before the colder climate prevailed until modern times.[3]

References change

  1. Mace, Rodney 2005. Trafalgar Square: Emblem of Empire (2nd ed). London: Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 978-1-905007-11-0
  2. Where Is The Centre Of London? Archived 17 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine BBC
  3. National Geographic 2022. Hidden London issue, p8/9.