Posts Tagged ‘statues and memorials in London’

William Wallace (engraving of the late 17th or 18th century)
Source: (Public Domain)

William Wallace was a member of the lower Scottish nobility. He was born in 1270 and fought in the wars of Independence against England. After leading the Scottish army to victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, he was appointed the governor of Scotland, a post which he held until his defeat at Falkirk the following year when he resigned in favour of Robert the Bruce. Wallace is believed to have left Scotland and travelled for several years around the courts of Europe, pleading the Scottish case against the King Of England.

By 1304, he was back in Scotland, fighting the English invaders. In August 1305 he was captured by a Scottish Lord, who supported the English King and handed over to the English forces. He was brought to London and tried for treason and war atrocities. He responded to the charge that he could never have committed treason as he was not a subject of the King of England. He was found guilty and was executed at Smithfield.

This memorial was unveiled in April 1856 near the site of Wallace’s execution.

A bronze sculpture of St George defeating the dragon in Hyde Park. It commemorates members of the Cavalry regiments killed in WW1.


Peter Scott was born in September 1909. His father, the Antartic explorer, Robert Falcon Scott, died when he was only 2 years old. In his last letter to his wife, he encouraged her to get his son interested in natural history. Peter Scott read natural sciences at Cambridge but after graduation took up his interest in painting and had his first exhibition in London in 1933. He was also an excellent sailor and represented Great Britain at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where he took a bronze medal. He served in the Royal Navy during world war II seeing service in the North Atlantic and the English Channel and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Using his artistic talent, he designed a new camouflage scheme for ships and by 1941 this had been adopted by the Navy. For this, he was awarded an MBE. Leaving the Navy in 1945 he stood for parliament but was not elected.


In 1947 he founded the Severn Wildfowl Trust near Slimbridge (now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust) and in 1951 he was a co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund. At Slimbridge in the 1950’s, he made his name in conservation by masterminding the Nene project which ensured the survival of the Hawaiin Goose which was on the brink of extinction in its natural habitat. From 1955 until 1981 he appeared regularly on the BBC programme Look as well as doing other documentaries. He continued to be an acclaimed wildlife artist and was the founder of the society of wildlife artists.

Peter Scott died, aged 79, in August 1989. One of his biggest wishes was to have a Wetland Centre in an urban environment and this was achieved when the London Wetland centre opened in 2000. This statue of Peter Scott stands at the entrance to the centre as a memorial to the man, his life work and his legacy.


This 9-metre high sculpture by Paul Day was unveiled in 2007 in St Pancras International Station. It received harsh criticism from the British art establishment but has become popular with the public. The plinth frieze was added in 2008.

Edward was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He ascended to the throne at the age of 60 on the death of his mother in 1901 and reigned for 9 years.

The statue, which stands in Waterloo Place, was erected by his son, King George V in 1921 and is by Sir Bertram MacKennal, an Australian sculptor who also designed the likeness of George V that appeared on his coinage.

Born in 1782, he was brought up by his Uncle, the Earl of Derby, after his father died the same year. He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military Academy and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1798.

He served at the siege of Malta (1800) and the capture of Alexandria (1807). He served on the staffs of Sir John Moore and Sir Arthur Wellesley during the Penninsula war from 1808-1815 rising to the rank of Lieutenant – Colonel. After a brief spell in the USA, he returned to France. In 1821 he was appointed Commander at the Royal engineers Depot at Chatham and in 1828 he became Garrison Engineer at Portsmouth. In 1838 he was promoted to Major-General and Knighted.

In 1845 he was appointed Inspector-General of Fortifications and worked on defences in Gibraltar and the Crimea as well as in the UK. In 1854 he became Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers, being promoted to the rank of General the following year. In 1865 he was appointed Constable of the Tower of London and retired in 1868 with the rank of Field Marshall.

By Roger Fenton – Library of Congress, Public Domain,

He died in London in 1871 and was buried in Brompton Cemetry.

Colin Campbell was born, Colin MacIver, in Glasgow in October 1792. After school, his uncle Major John Campbell, arranged for him to go to Gosport Military Academy. It here that it is believed that it was wrongly assumed that the boy had the same name as his uncle and so he was enrolled as Colin Campbell.

He joined the 9th Regiment of Foot as an ensign on May 26th 1808 and was posted to the Iberian Peninsula where he fought at the battle of Vimeiro in August of that year. He was promoted Lieutenant in July 1809. His battalion was transferred to Gibraltar in 1810 and he took part in the battle of Barrosa, where he was commended for his bravery. He took part in a number of other battles during the Peninsula war before being promoted to Captain and transferred to the 60th (Royal American) Regiment. He was sent to Nova Scotia but soon returned to England.

Following the contraction of the army after the battle of Waterloo, Campbell joined the 21st North British Fusiliers in 1818. He travelled to the West Indies and whilst there took part in suppressing a slave revolt in Demerara. He returned to England in 1828 and after spending some time in Ireland became commanding officer of the 98th Foot and was sent to China. In December 1842 he was made a Colonel and appointed commandant of Hong Kong. 1847 saw him transfer to India where he was involved in a number of battles. But after a disagreement with the Governor-General regarding punitive raids he resigned his commission.

In 1854, with the outbreak of the Crimean war, Campbell accepted the command of the Highland Brigade. During the battle of Alma, Campbell and his ‘Thin Red Line’ of Highlanders turned back the Russian attack on Balaclava. He was knighted in 1855 and returned home in 1856.

The following year he returned to India and was appointed to the command of all British forces and led the relief of the siege of Lucknow. In 1858 he was created Baron Clyde of Clydesdale. In retirement, he was promoted to Field Marshall in 1863 and died the following year at his home near Chatham. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

This Statue by Carlo Marochetti in Waterloo Place was erected in 1867.

The Huntress Fountain, which is found in the Rose Garden in Hyde Park, is a bronze figure of Diana, Goddess of hunting. It dates from 1906 and was sculpted by Feodara Gleichen, the first female member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

The original West Gate at Twickenham rugby stadium contains a number of memorials.

The Lion, one of a pair, originally stood in front of the Lion Brewery on the South Bank of the Thames near Waterloo Station. The Brewery was demolished in 1948 to make way for the Royal Festival Hall. This lion was in storage until 1972, when it was presented to the RFU on their centenary by the London Council. The other lion of the pair can be seen on Westminster Bridge.

On top of the gates are 4 statues by Gerald Olgivie-Laing from the 1990’s representing 4 rugby players

There is also a memorial to George Rowland-Hill, President of the Rugby Football Union at the beginning of the last century.

The Rose and Poppy gates by Harry Gray were installed in 2016 as a memorial to all rugby players who have died in conflicts since the foundation of the Union in 1871. It has the Rose, the emblem of the England Rugby team, and poppies of remembrance on it.

John Franklin was born in Lincolnshire in 1786. He went to sea in a merchantman at the age of 12 and in 1800, his father secured him a position aboard the 64 gun Royal Navy vessel HMS Polyphemus. He saw action at the battle of Copenhagen. Transferring to HMS Investigator he was appointed midshipman and travelled to Australia. He returned to Europe to serve on HMS Beelerophon at the battle of Trafalger. 

In 1819 Franklin was chosen to lead an expedition overland from Hudson Bay charting the coast of Canada. He returned to England in 1823 but was soon back in Canada leading expeditions to chart the Mackenzie River and surrounding areas returning each year to winter at Fort Franklin. In Summer of 1827 he returned to England.

He was knighted in April 1829 for his expeditionary work. He also recieved awards from France and Greece in recognition of his work. In 1836 he was appointed Lieutenant Governer of Van Dieman’s Land (modern day Tasmania) and he served until 1843. In 1845 it was decided to send another expedition to complete the mapping of arctic waters and Franklin was named as the Commander. Two ships and 129 men set off from Greenland and were last seen by a whaler on 26 July.

After 3 years a search party was dispatched. Eventually, they found some evidence of the expedition on Beechey Island where 3 graves were found. Although no evidence of survivors was found, Franklin, in absentia, was promoted to Rear-Admiral. A note found on Beechey Island reported that Franklin had died there in 1847. It was not until 1854 that John Rae, an explorer learnt from Inuit Indians that the two ships had become ice-bound and that the men had tried to escape on foot, but had succumbed to the cold. The wrecks of the two ships were eventually found in 2014 and 2016.