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WELLINGTON ARCH

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  CONSTITUTION ARCH, GREEN PARK ARCH
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Wellington Arch (formerly known as Green Park Arch and Constitution Arch) was designed by Decimus Burton and built between 1826 and 1830 to commemorate Britain's victories over Napoleonic France. This triumphal arch was commissioned by George IV in 1825 as a grand outer entrance to Buckingham Palace. The original design consisted of considerable sculptural decoration, which was never executed. In 1830, the cost of Buckingham Palace had run wildly over budget and when it came to carving the trophies and friezes for the arch the treasury would not authorise the required £5,695 on top of the existing £21,000 cost. In 1846, it was instead capped by a controversial equestrian sculpture of Wellington designed by Matthew Coates Wyatt at a cost of around £30,000. The statue, measuring 28 feet high, was seen as grossly disproportionate to the arch. It was eventually moved to Aldershot in 1885. The arch was moved to the present location in 1882 as a result of a road-widening scheme. It is constructed from Portland Stone and comprises a single archway flanked by fluted Corinthian columns and pilasters, with a heavy cornice. In 1912, a bronze sculpture depicting a winged Victory (or Angel of Peace as the designer actually titled it) landing behind a chariot drawn by four horses guided by a boy, designed by Adrian Jones, was placed surmounting the monument. At around 29 feet high and weighing 38 tonnes it took 3 years to build and cost £15,615, some of which was subsidised by Jones himself. The statue is believed to be the largest bronze sculpture in Europe. From as early as 1831, the interior of the arch accommodated the park gate-keeper and the police. In the 20th century, it housed London's smallest police station serving as a 'section house' for policing the area around Constitution Hill. After a £1.5 million repair project, undertaken by English Heritage between 1999 and 2000, the arch was opened to the public with three floors of display space and a viewing balcony.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.