Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seats of Power: Whitehall and the Mall

This week I was able to complete a walk among the administrative center of London. Although I'm not all that into politics, I really enjoyed the walk because I learned a lot from it. Throughout this area of London are many statues and monuments dedicated to military heroes and important historical events that seem to be common knowledge for the British, but they were all new for me. I found myself stopping at each monument just to see what each one was about.

I loved this one, dedicated to the Fleet Air Arm's, mostly because it was unique and caught my eye. Most of the memorials were pretty traditional but this one was great!

This statue is dedicated to William Tyndale, who was a major figure in the British Reformation. He began the translation of the Bible into English and smuggled it into England page by page, he was eventually caught and forced to flee to the continent. What an inspired man.

This is a view of Nelson's Column, an identifying landmark in Trafalgar Square. It is dedicated to Admiral Horatio Nelson to commemorate his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

One of the traditional looking statues of a Commander-in-Chief of the army atop his noble steed.

This is a statue of Robert, Baron Clive. I thought his story was interesting: at eighteen Clive tried to commit suicide but when his gun failed to fire twice he took it as a sign that he had something to accomplish in this world. He went on to become one of the most important British officers in the 1700s.

Guard's Memorial dedicated to soldiers of WWI. When you examine this memorial carefully you can even find shrapnel scars from air raids of WWII.

The Duke of York's monument.

I couldn't get a great picture of this monument but this is a memorial honoring the soldiers of the Crimean War (one which I had never heard of), between Russia on one side and Britain, France, Turkey, and the Piedmont on the other. In front of the Crimean War memorial is a statue of Florence Nightingale who became famous because of her work in this war.

It was very interesting to have a little British history tour and be able to see many of the British heroes that I hadn't know about before.

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