Trafalgar Square in central London, the world's most famous square, was completed in 1845 and is named after the famous naval battle in which the British heavily defeated the French forty years earlier. It was originally intended to be named King William the Fourth's Square, after the monarch - nicknamed the "Sailor King" after serving in the Royal Navy - who reigned from 1830-1837 (and who was the uncle of Queen Victoria), but George Ledwell Taylor, who designed the Garrison Chapel at the Royal Dockyard, suggested the name Trafalgar Square.

In each of the four corners of the square are four plinths. One holds the statue of King George IV; one holds the statue of Harry Havelock, who commanded a division of the British Army during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 which bravely recaptured the town of Cawnpore and broke the siege of Lucknow; and one holds the statue of Charles James Napier, a British Army general whose heroic forces conquered India's Sindh province (now in Pakistan) in 1842 for the Empire.

The fourth plinth was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV, but remained empty due to insufficient funds.

So, since it was erected in 1841, debate has raged over what statue should grace the fourth plinth.

Now it has been decided that, in the name of democracy, the PEOPLE should grace the fourth plinth, so EVERY hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days, a new person will step up onto the plinth and be turned into a living work of art.

And this project is showing just how eccentric the British people are. People the length and breadth of the country have stood on the fourth plinth, from Ross-shire to Berkshire and from Cardiganshire to Cambridgeshire. Already on the plinth have stood "Lord Lucan", a gorilla, a man in a toilet costume, a man who cut his hair and a women who used her hour to tell how teachers influence society.

We've had Lord Lucan, a gorilla and a man in a toilet costume - amazing what 36 hours on the fourth plinth will throw up

By Mail On Sunday Reporter (external - login to view)
11th July 2009
Daily Mail

An early photograph showing Nelson's Column, in Trafalgar Square, being constructed, 1843. The fence in the foreground is plastered with advertisements.

Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days, they will step up, one by one, to become a living work of art.

This is the One & Other project in which 2,400 members of the public will stand atop Trafalgar Square’s empty fourth plinth and do whatever they wish for exactly 60 minutes.

The venture, which began last Monday, is the brainchild of artist Antony Gormley, who described it as ‘a cross between reality television and Speakers’ Corner’.

05.00: Electoral manager, Julie Kempen, 52, Reading, was inspired by The Archers and a desire to say: 'I was there'

06.00: Art student, Colette Rayner, 19, Glasgow, acted out her own version of The Owl And The *****cat

07.00: Art student, Kiera Gould, 23, from Devon was 'thrilled' to take part as Antony Gormley inspires her

08.00: Researcher and student, Jon Guest, 23, Newcastle, was a toilet to promote WaterAid

09.00: Horticulturist, Jacqui Stevans, 42, Gloucs, cut a 5ft plant into the shape of a child

10.00: Anonymous, preferring not to be named this plinther sat on a deckchair and blew bubbles

11.00: Unemployed, David Crundwell, 42, London, said he was 'happy just to watch the world go by'

12.00: Ad executive, Emma Phillips, 38, London, moved from Oz to live in a city 'oozing creativity'

13.00: Charity manager, Stephan Stockton, 47, Wales, 'never usually gets to eat lunch' so that's what he did

Certainly, over the past six days, it has proved to be a typically eccentric display, with ‘plinthers’ including a greying Lord Lucan, a crooning Elvis Presley, a man dressed as a gorilla and a giant pigeon.

To capture a flavour of this diverse parade of human sculptures, The Mail on Sunday spent 36 hours at the fourth plinth.

Starting at 5am on Wednesday, we chronicled the artists, preachers, singers and ordinary members of the public who took their place among the great and the good immortalised in stone elsewhere in the square.

14.00: YouTuber, Gary 'Cheeky' Caplehorn, 28, Kent, said he and his muppet 'embrace YouTube culture'

15.00: Project manager, Craig Pakes, 49, Lincs, went 'where the mood took him' embarrassing his daughters

16.00: Retired headteacher, Roberta Syrett, 67, Leeds, used her hour to tell how teachers influence society

17.00: IT consultant, Mike Holmes, 50, Lincoln, 'just thought it would be fun' to spend a quiet hour there

18.00: Art student, Francis Booth, 56, Warks, built a house of cards to show flimsiness of some peoples lives

19.00: National Portrait Gallery boss, Sandy Naime, 58, stood in for a plinther who didn't show up

20.00: Management consultant, Lynne Woodward, 54, Hants, was scared of heights but practised tai chi

21.00: Scientist, Pat Ryan, 54, Cambridge, had planned 'sword and sabre' tai chi but weapons are banned

22.00: Drug adviser, Barbara Hardcastle, 62, Merseyside, promoted the Peace One Day movement

Those taking part are chosen at random from the 24,000 who have already applied, and people working nearby have been put on standby should someone fail to show up, so Gormley’s vision of a plinth never empty is fulfilled.

The participants can take props, as long as they are legal and can be carried on the small crane which delivers them to the 23ft platform protected by safety netting and four security guards.

So far, they have braved thunderstorms, torrential rain and, for the night-time performers, a certain amount of heckling from well-refreshed passers-by.

23.00: Anonymous, preached through his megaphone for an hour 'In The Name of Love'

24.00: Retired manager, Timothy Lockwood-Jones, 66, Bristol, tried to conquer a fear of heights

01.00: Art teacher, John Badger, 57, Merseyside, mimicked sculptures such as the Thinker

02.00: Computer programmer, Andrew McCallion, 27, London, cut his hair

03.00: Student, Justin Sargeant, 39, Cambridge, wanted to be a monument for an hour

04.00: Library assistant, Anna Machell, 26, Liverpool, doodled 12 postcards of passing crowds

05.00: Hospital porter, Tony Pressley, 48, Notts, was 'a statue not of a general or a king, just an ordinary man'

06.00: Student, Andrew Clark, 20, from Kent, dressed as a ninja to warn of the dangers of diabetes disease

07.00: Support assistant, Neil Scott, 23, Perthshire, spent a peaceful hour painting watercolours

When Sir Charles Barry designed Trafalgar Square in the 1840s he included four plinths. One carries a statue of George IV while two others have statues of the army generals Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock, who helped Britain make gains in India.

The fourth plinth, in the north-west corner, was intended to hold a statue of King William IV on horseback – but the money ran out. To this day no agreement has been reached on who should be celebrated there.

In the mid-Nineties, the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group was set up to fill the gap with a series of temporary art commissions, the most controversial being Marc Quinn’s sculpture, Alison Lapper Pregnant.

One & Other is the site’s most ambitious project to date, and will run until October 14.

08.00: Lift consultant, Michael Bottomley, 50, Halifax, was a dead ringer for Sting and sang some of his own songs

09.00: Soap maker, Claire Robertson, 32, Perth and Kinross, promoted her 'bath bombs' business

10.00: Administrator, Dan French, 51, Herts, gave a lecture on 'This day in history' complete with illustrations

11.00: Market researcher, Gary Campbell, 39, Surrey, planned a tribute to Farrah Fawcett - then went for this

12.00: Communications adviser, Julia Lalla-Maharajh, 39, London, highlighted the issue of female genital mutilation

13.00: Unemployed accountant, Neil Sutcliffe, 50, Preston, preached from the Bible because 'it's all about life'

14.00: Poet, Penny Solomons, 65, London, loves Trafalgar square and was 'enchanted by the project'

15.00: Costumier, Amanda Hall, 42, London, built a man out of bagels in tribute to Antony Gormley's work

16.00: Writer, William Coles, 44, from Edinburgh as Lord Lucan. He read his fiction about the peer's life

Last edited by Blackleaf; Jul 12th, 2009 at 12:39 PM..