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Showing posts from May, 2024

Trafalgar Square : Military Men

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  What does Trafalgar Square mean to you? Maybe it's the Christmas Tree gifted by Norway every year. Maybe it is the fountains or nostalgia for Britain in its pomp.  A visit is certainly more pleasant than it used to be when, if the traffic didn't get you, the pigeons would. Thank you ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone for rerouting some of the former and discouraging feeding the latter. Compared with the ugliness of Leicester Square, this is the architectural muddle that is London at its glorious best, the phallocentric school of imperial city  planning.   Enjoy the space, the fountains and the serendipitous mixture of grand buildings around it.  Then, once you have cricked your neck gazing up at Nelson, take a closer  look at  array of mementoes of on  this n ational mantlepiece.    Once a road. Now the Gallery terrace.  The Pigeons were a curse In this and the posts that follow, I want to take a look at some of the prominent  stone and bronze  occupants of London.  Who is there? And w

Parliament Square

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  The stone figures in Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall are mostly little-known military men and Kings who are probably better forgotten. In contrast, those in Parliament Square are more recent, better known, often more lifelike and fresher in our collective memory. I have to start with.... Churchill (of course)  Winnie was voted  Britain’s greatest man in  a 2002 BBC poll . Hmm. Maybe. But you have to love a bloke who, at the two ends of a long and momentous life, led a cavalry charge and controlled atom bombs.  While people at the time acknowledged his talents as a leader in wartime, they were sceptical about whether his views and character would suit the peace thereafter.  As soon as the war was over he called an election, which he lost in a landslide to Clement Attlee' s progressive and reforming government. In this politically correct world it is inevitable that he scores black marks, He was a reactionary and a racist, but at the time many were. Not modest either; he is w