Frederick Duke of York - Waterloo Place, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.379 W 000° 07.905
30U E 699046 N 5710032
Quick Description: This statue, of Frederick Duke of York, is mounted on top of a column. There used to be access to the viewing platform that would have given splendid views over London. Alas this is now closed.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/21/2015 8:27:13 AM
Waymark Code: WMPMHW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 8

Long Description:

Wikipedia has an article about Frederick Duke of York that tells us:

The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (Frederick Augustus; 16 August 1763 – 5 January 1827), was the second eldest child and second son of King George III of the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Hanover. From the death of his father in 1820 until his own death in 1827, he was the heir presumptive to his elder brother, King George IV, both to the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Hanover.

Frederick was thrust into the British army at a very early age, appointed to high command at the age of 30, and commanded in a notoriously ineffectual campaign during the War of the First Coalition, which followed the French Revolution. Later, as Commander-in-Chief during the Napoleonic Wars, he reorganised the British army, putting in place vital administrative and structural reforms.

The Duke of York column, carved from granite, has a square base and the capital carries a square platform with a statue of the Duke of York mounted upon it.

The column is Grade I listed and the entry at English Heritage (visit link) reads:

Duke of York column and steps G.V. I Commemorative column and town planning focal point with steps down to the Mall and St James's Park. 1831-34, the column designed by Benjamin Wyatt, the bronze statue of the Duke by Sir Richard Westmacott, the layout with the great flight of steps as the terminal feature of Nash's Via Triumphalis, on the site of Carlton House, with the palatial Carlton House Terrace (q.v.) ranges flanking the composition. Granite column and steps, bronze statue. The giant column is of the Tuscan order and rises from a square pedestal; the capital carries a square balcony, drum and dome (on the model of Wren's Monument) surmounted by statue of the Duke in uniform.

Wikipedia (visit link) describes the column thus:

The column is of the Tuscan order. It is built of granite from Aberdeenshire; a light grey variety was used for the pedestal, a bluer grey type for the base of the shaft, and red Peterhead granite for the rest of the structure. There is an iron railing around the abacus of the capital. At the centre of the capital, on a plinth, is a bronze statue of the duke dressed in the robes of the Knights of the Garter, by Sir Richard Westmacott. It is 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m) tall, weighs 16,840 pounds (7,640 kg) and was raised on 8 April 1834.

The total height of the monument to the top of the statue is 137 ft 9 in (41.99 m). The statue is faces southeast, towards the The Mall and St. James's Park.

Inside the hollow column a spiral staircase of 168 steps, lit by apertures in the outside wall, leads to the viewing platform around the base of the statue. This means of ascent has been closed to the public for many decades.

The great height of the column caused wits to suggest that the Duke was trying to escape his creditors, as the Duke died £2 million in debt.

The Plunge London website (visit link) tells us:

Built between 1830 and 1833, this column is a monument to Prince Frederick, Duke of York, the second eldest son of King George III. The Duke of York was the commander-in-chief of the British Army during the French Revolutionary Wars and is remembered in the children’s nursery rhyme, “The Grand Old Duke of York”.

The £25,000 to build the statue was raised by subscription – each individual in the army was required to contribute a day’s pay. Inside the hollow column a spiral staircase leads to the viewing platform around the base of the statue. Originally open to the public, this means of ascent was closed following a spate of suicides in the 17th Century.

'This is Waterloo-place, surrounded by columned mansions… In front of the stairs is the Duke of York’s column, of which very little can be said, except that it is ninety-four feet high, and some years ago the jumping down from the top and being smashed on the broad stones at its base, was a fashionable mode of committing suicide. It’s a pity that none of the poor wretches ever thought of over throwing and jumping down with the statue of the Duke of York, for it stands ridiculously high, and the impression it makes on that bad eminence is by no means agreeable.'

Monarch Ranking: Grand Duke or Prince / Grand Duchess or Princess

Proper Title and Name of Monarch: Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany

Country or Empire of Influence: United Kingdom

Website for additonal information: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:

Waymark Visitor - Must either

  • Provide a photo at the Statue
  • Answer a related question, if available, as posted on the Waymark description to the satistfaction of the Owner
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