Visiting the Victoria Memorial, London, England: imposing monument in front of Buckingham Palace
Fine, commemorative structure by the sculptor of the Titanic Memorial, Belfast
So many visitors to Buckingham Palace, London, England, head for the historic frontage of the great residence of the British monarch and head of the Commonwealth, that many of them are hardly aware of the imposing monument situated in front of it.
Some history and features
However, the Victoria Monument is hard to miss. Indeed, the Memorial looms up as the visitor walks along The Mall, or through St. James's Park towards the Palace.
The monument was dedicated in 1911 by King George V of Great Britain and Kaiser William II of Germany, both grandsons of long reigning Queen Victoria. The monument was finally completed in 1914, when, ironically, the two monarchs who had dedicated the monument three years previously, went to war with one another.
In the Memorial complex, various statues complement one of Queen Victoria herself, who reigned from 1837 to 1901. These include allegorical representations of truth, justice and charity.
Other figures in the complex were gifted by the people of New Zealand.
The sculpture itself was the work of Sir Thomas Brock (1847-1922)(1). The marble surround was worked by Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930); this surround was made of 2,086.5 tonnes of white marble.
Thus, for nearly a century, on important occasions when the Royal Family has appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the Victoria Memorial has provided a vantage point and a backdrop to the many crowds who have gathered for the events.
A somewhat amusing anecdote, in relation to the Victoria Memorial, has entered broadcasting lore. Sir David Dimbleby, veteran TV and radio presenter, was once giving coverage to a royal event at Buckingham Palace, and was at one moment clearly thinking out loud, without giving much thought to his words. He referred to the 'Victoria Memorial' and 'explained' that it was built as a memorial to Queen Victoria': maybe a supreme example of tautology (2)! Rather like someone saying that 'the White House is white', or 'Andrews Air Force Base is an air force base'!
(1) Among the various works of scuptor Sir Thomas Brock are included the Albert Memorial, near London's Royal Albert Hall, and the Titanic Memorial, at the City Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland.
(2) This comment came at an uncharacteristic moment to a long and distinguished career as a presenter: what North Americans would call an 'anchor'.
Also worth seeing
London has such huge numbers of visitor attractions that I will refer to only a small fraction of the principal ones; these include: Trafalgar Square; the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey; St. Paul's Cathedral; the Royal Albert Hall; and many others.
How to get there
United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London . Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada