Trafalgar Square

T. S. is London’s geographical center. It was laid out during the early part of the 19th century to commemorate the naval victory of Britain over the French at Trafalgar in 1805, in which Admiral Lord Nelson took part and was fatally wounded. The Nelson column with the statue of Admiral Nelson on top of it is 185 feet (5 metres) high. At the base of the column you can see four bronze lions which are guarding it and were cast from the cannon of battleships. On October 21st there is a service under the column to commemorate Nelson.

The east and west sides of the square are gracefully flanked by plane trees. Beyond the terrace above the north side stands the National Gallery; on the lawns in front of the Gallery stands a statue of James II, to the west of the main entrance, and to the east a statue of George Washington. Among other important buildings surrounding the square are the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. T. S. has long been the place for political meetings and demonstrations, including those of the Chartists who began their march here in 1848. More recently it has become the terminal point of protest marches. Every year at Christmas time an enormous Christmas tree is erected, the annual gift, since the 2nd World War, of the Norwegian people. On New Year’s Eve T. S.. is always the scene of celebrations. Not far from T. S. there is a quiet little street with very ordinary houses.

So you may be surprised to see a policeman who is standing at one of the houses. It is Downing Street and for the last two hundred years at No.10 each Prime Minister of England has been living there. Downing Street leads to Whitehall. There was a palace here once, where from the 12th to the 16th century the English Kings and Queens were living. Now it is just a street of government offices. Here in the middle of the read there is simple but impressive Cenotaph, the Memorial to the men who died in the two World Wars.

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Trafalgar Square