Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson was born 259 years ago today!


We wanted to celebrate Nelson by sharing 5 little known facts about Trafalgar Square with you.


Nelson’s column

Built in 1843, Nelson’s column was built to honour Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson and his naval victory at Trafalgar.

Although the majority of the statue is made from solid granite, the pedestal at the base is made from bronze that had been recast from captured French guns following England’s victories.

The little known fact about this well-known monument is that the height of the column is exactly the same as the height of the main mast on HMS Victory (46 metres), Lord Nelson’s commanding ship at Trafalgar.


4 Lions

Guarding Nelson’s column are four bronze lions sculpted by the famous artist and sculptor Edwin Henry Landseer. Installed in 1867, over 60 years after Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish forces at Trafalgar, the little known fact is that it is said that Landseer had in fact never seen a real lion before. Most of the sculpture had been designed off verbal and written descriptions, paintings and his own house cat! This betrayal of the lions splendid form is most noticeable on the paws of each statue, they look the same as a domestic cat!

Admiralty Flagpoles

Nelson faces south from his column, looking towards Admiralty arch (The Archway linking The Mall and Trafalgar Square). The little known fact is that each of the 33 ships in Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar are depicted on the top of the flagpoles nearest to Admiralty Arch. It is said that it was designed this way so that Nelson could continue surveying his fleet for evermore.


The Nose of Admiralty Arch

The Nose of Admiralty Arch is a bizarre, nose-shaped lump on the driver side column heading towards Trafalgar Square under admiralty arch. Some say that it has been there since the arch was built and was placed there to commemorate Wellington and his victory at Waterloo but it was uncovered that the nose was placed there by artist Rick Buckley in 1997. The nose is about 7feet high, look out for it when you’re driving or walking through the arch next!

The Mall/Trafalgar Square

Unknown by many, the Mall and Trafalgar Square belong to the Queen as part of the royal estate. The Queen permits her citizens to use the Mall with the exception of buses. Permission must be sought from Her Majesty to drive a bus down the mall and this has only happened twice in the last century.

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