Nelson reappears after first facelift for 20 years


Blackleaf
#1
Nelson reappears after first facelift for 20 years
11th July 2006




A ballerina strikes a pose beneath the new-look Nelson




The completion of restoration work on Nelson's Column was marked today by four dancers going through their paces atop the granite column 151 feet above London's Trafalgar Square.

The four, including a ballerina and a flamenco dancer, posed for cameras to mark the end of the clean-up and the start of a dance festival.

It is only the third time the whole monument, erected in 1843 to honour Admiral Horatio Nelson, has undergone restoration involving extensive scaffolding.

Previous major work took place in 1968 and 1986, although the 18-foot high statue of Nelson on the column has been cleaned several times.


Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, London.

The most memorable for many was when children's television presenter John Noakes accompanied the cleaners for the Blue Peter programme.

Designed in the 1830s by John Nash, Trafalgar Square is a focal point for tourists and Londoners alike. The scene of political rallies and civic celebrations, the square was named after Nelson's greatest victory in 1805 against a French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar in southwest Spain.

Although Nelson himself was killed, the victory marked the end of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's naval ambitions and secured Britain's dominance of the seas for the next 100 years.



A new-look Nelson reappears from scaffolding at the top of his column after the London landmark's first major facelift for 20 years.
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Four dancers went through their paces on top of the granite tower 151 feet above London's Trafalgar Square to mark the end of the building work.
© PA
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It is only the third time the whole monument, erected in 1843 to honour Admiral Horatio Nelson, has undergone restoration involving extensive scaffolding.
© Getty
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Although Nelson was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar, the victory marked the end of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's naval ambitions and secured Britain's dominance of the seas for the next 100 years.
© Reuters
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The dancers pose in colourful costumes beneath the newly-cleaned statue at the top of the column.
© Reuters
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[img]http://img.dailymail.co.uk/img/galleries/nelsoncolumn06/nelson5R_350x233.jpg
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Nelson's Column dominates the London skyline and is a focal point for tourists and Londoners alike.
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The column has been shrouded in scaffold for three months as workmen cleaned and restored the stone as well as pigeon-proofed areas of the statue.
© Getty

dailymail.co.uk


dailymail.co.uk
 
Blackleaf
#2
The "Nelson's Column" was one of Britain's newest type of Imperial measurements. We measured certain landmarks, such as the height of Canary Wharf, in "Nelson's Columns." But it's been revealed that Nelson's Column is slighty shorter than previously thought.



The Times July 12, 2006


Nelson falls short of expectations
By Alan Hamilton



ONE of our most cherished units of measurement ó once thought as reliable as the rod, the pole, the perch and other Imperial measurements ó has been found wanting.

Nelsonís Column in Trafalgar Square has failed to measure up to expectations, and that may cause all sorts of problems.

The monument is constantly used to give a sense of proportion to tall things. Britainís highest building at Canary Wharf, London, for example, is often described as 4.5 Nelsonís Columns. Now the correct figure should be 4.6.

The blame must be laid on our slapdash attitude. For decades, we have blithely quoted the column without knowing its exact height.

When The Times climbed it recently to interview the stony admiral face to face, contractors assured us that it was exactly 173ft (52.7m) from the pavement to the tip of Nelsonís tricorn hat. Other sources confidently quote a variety of heights, from 162 to 185ft.

Yesterday, as the scaffolding came down after Horatioís latest renovation, repair and cleaning, Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, announced a definitive figure; the column, from pavement to hat, is 169ft 5 4/5 in. It must be right: they measured it by the latest laser technology.

According to records William Railton, its architect, envisaged a monument 203ft high, but he died before it was completed in 1843.

There are suggestions that public subscriptions, raised at the instigation of the Duke of Wellington, had dried up. Despite Nelsonís heroic status today, his reputation was patchy in the early Victorian years.

Curators at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich have an original 1:22 scale model of the column, which suggests that its intended height was only 116ft.

ďWeíre not sure of its provenance, and models are only models,Ē a spokesman said.

But the museum also has an 1885 edition of John Timbsís Curiosities of London, a priceless archive of obscure and recondite information on the capital. Timbs calculated the height of the column itself as 145ft 6in, plus a 17ft statue on top, giving a total of 162ft 6in.

He was not far off, but nobody knows whether he was calculating from the pavement or from the steps where the column proper begins.

The Mayor of Londonís office said that it ordered the laser measurement last week.

A spokesman said: ďVarious figures have been bandied about over the years, but none of them seems to have any sound basis in fact.Ē

Nelson may now be nearer the ground than was previously thought, but he is otherwise in much better shape.

His left arm (the one he didnít lose in real life) was damaged by a lightning strike 100 years ago. It has now been properly repaired and attached to his shoulder by bronze straps.

He has been cleaned of grime and bird waste and had his facial pockmarks, which had been patched with cement, repaired with Craigleith stone, from which the statue was carved. The quarry, from which most of the New Town of Edinburgh was built, has been closed for more than 60 years, but renovations to a house provided some genuine samples.

Adrian Attwood, from David Ball Restoration, which carried out the £420,000 renovation, said: ďWe leave Nelson looking much better than he has for many years.Ē

Even if he has been caught short.

MEASURING UP

You canít trust statistics, and there is no statistic more notorious than the height of Mount Everest. When Hillary and Tensing conquered it in 1953, the height was said to be 29,028ft (8,848m in funny measurements). When Andrew Waugh, the surveyor-general of India,measured it in 1856, he reputedly found it to be 29,000ft exactly. Global positioning technology in 1999 put Everestís height at 29,035ft. Yet last year the Chinese Governmentís mapping department lowered it to 29,017ft.

You canít even trust the size of Wales. Whitakerís Almanac caclulates its area to be 20,758 sq km (12,899 sq miles), but the Columbia Gazeteer of the World found an extra bit to make it 20,761 sq km.


thetimesonline.co.uk
 

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