Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

In 1828, the English Regency architect John Nash was commissioned by King George IV to design a building scheme that would link the newly renovated Buckingham Palace to the political heart of the city at Westminster. As part of the Regent's Charing Cross Improvement Scheme, Nash cleared the site, which had previously housed the King's Mews, to make way for the new square. The monumental development incorporated three main routes from across London: Pall Mall, the Strand and Whitehall.

In 1831, aged 78, Nash retired, leaving the design and construction of the buildings around the square to other architects including William Wilkins who designed the National Gallery. From 1840-45, Charles Barry was responsible for the overall design of the square, which, with the addition of Nelson's Column in 1839-43, became an unreserved celebration of British naval power.

Barry also planned to have four bronze commemorative statues on plinths around the square. While three plinths were filled with statues of the king and two British generals, a fourth plinth on the northwest corner of the square was left empty owing to a lack of funds. A recent initiative led by the Arts Council of England has introduced a rolling series of contemporary artists' work atop the empty plinth, attracting a new source of interest in the square.

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