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Interesting Facts About Nelson’s Column, an Iconic London Landmark

Nelson's Column in Trafalgar SquareIf you’ve been to London, I’m sure you’ve been to Trafalgar Square. It is one of my favourite places to go to in London and a must-see for all tourists. At the centre of Trafalgar Square there is a very iconic London landmark, Nelson’s column. It was built between 1840 and 1843 to honour Admiral Horatio Nelson.

Who was Admiral Horatio Nelson?

Admiral Nelson was a British officer who served in the Royal Navy. He was famous for his bravery and excellent leadership skills and he was one of England’s most loved heroes. He won many naval battles and was wounded several times – he even lost one arm and one eye in two of his battles! The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was Nelson’s most famous victory, where he defeated Napoleon and the Spanish and French fleets. However, this was Admiral Nelson’s final victory as he was shot and killed during the battle.

10 things you probably didn’t know about Nelson’s Column:

Nelson's Column1. Nelson’s Column cost £47,000 to make which is equivalent to more than £3 million today.

2. The government paid for some of the monument to be built but most of the money was contributed from individuals. The person who contributed the most (£12,000) was the Tsar of Russia!

3. There are four huge bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s Column which were created to protect the monument. They were completed on 31st January 1867 – exactly 147 years ago!

4. Even though all four lions are sitting in the same positions, they are actually not identical. There are differences in their faces and manes.

Nelson's Column in London

5. It has been noticed that the lions have become damaged from people climbing on them and in 2011 a report was written to try and ban people from climbing them.

6. There are four panels at the bottom of Nelson’s Column which each show a scene from Nelson’s most famous battles: the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar, the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Copenhagen and the Battle of Cape St Vincent.

7. The panels were made by four different artists and were made from captured French guns which were melted down.

8. There is an 18ft statue of Nelson at the top of the monument. In 1896, it was struck by lightning and Nelson’s shoulder was chipped.

9. Nelson’s Column was refurbished in 2006 and they discovered that it is actually 14ft 6in shorter than they originally thought! The monument is 169ft 3in tall (51.6m).

10. If Hitler had successfully invaded Britain in the Second World War, he planned to move Nelson’s Column to Berlin!

So whether you are coming to London to visit, work, study at university or study English, make sure you plan a trip to see Nelson at the top of his column!

Bloomsbury International students at the bottom of Nelson's Column

Bloomsbury International students at the bottom of Nelson’s Column

Have fun with English

Can you match the words on the left with their opposite on the right?

vertical fail
succeed rural
prohibit innocent
optimistic permanent
urban horizontal
temporary pessimistic
guilty cowardly
brave allow

 Last week’s answers

  1. “Our competitors have started to spend a lot of money on advertising so I think we should fight fire with fire and do the same.”
  2. “I know it will be difficult seeing Julie tonight but if you do a runner you’ll regret it tomorrow.”
  3. Jane: “Thank you so much for changing my tyre. I had no idea how to do it!”
    Pete: “No problem. When you’ve been a mechanic for 30 years, changing a tyre is a piece of cake!”
  4. “I don’t think Tom will ever order pasta instead of a pizza. A leopard can’t change its spots you know.”
  5. Carley: “Are you coming to the party tonight?”
    Robyn: “I don’t think I should. I’ve been feeling under the weather all week.”
  6. “She told me she would sleep on it and let me know her decision but it’s been 3 days now and she still hasn’t called!”
  7. “I don’t have time to prepare for my meeting tomorrow. I’m just going to have to play it by ear and see what happens.”
  8. “My teacher knew I cheated so I had to bite the bullet and admit it.”
  9. “I only see my brother once in a blue moon because he lives in New York.”

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