One of London’s great open spaces. From the 14th to the late 17th century, much of the area occupied by Trafalgar Square was the courtyard of the Great Mews stabling, which served Whitehall Palace. In the early 18th century, the mews was put out of use by the Royal Household and the area was cleared. In 1812 the architect John Nash set about developing a new concept for the space as part of his improvement plans for London. He wanted to develop ‘a new street from Charing Cross to Portland Place … forming an open square in the Kings Mews opposite Charing Cross’. He wanted the space to be a cultural space, open to the public. In 1830, it was officially named Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square is a site of significant historic value and its monuments and statues also have individual heritage classifications. Since its construction in the early 1800s, Trafalgar Square has been seen as a centre of national democracy and protest. Rallies and demonstrations are frequently held at weekends on a range of political, religious and general issues.
In 1843 Nelson’s Column, designed by William Railton, was erected, and in 1845, the fountains were built based on designs thought to be by Sir Charles Barry. Sir Edwin Landseer designed the bronze lions that were placed on guard at the base of Nelson’s Column in 1867. In 1876, the Imperial Measures – detailing inches, feet, yards, links, chains, perches and poles – were set into the north terrace wall. When the central staircase was added, the measures were relocated, and you can now find information about them outside the café on the square.
Charing Cross (3 minute walk)
Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern)
Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly)
Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo and Piccadilly)
Embankment (Bakerloo, Northern, District and Circle)
3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453 go past Trafalgar Square.
22 and 94 terminate nearby at Piccadilly Circus
Trafalgar Sqaure, London (Map)
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