Marble Arch in London
There are so many interesting places and beautiful buildings to see in London. It is very easy to miss something like the Marble Arch. It is a well known landmark in London but a minor tourist attraction. Most tourists pose in front of the arch for a quick photo and then move on. I am not even sure if it features in the guide book.
I first saw it when I took an Evans & Evans city tour. Later I explored it by foot. Commoners are not allowed to pass through the arch. By tradition, only senior members of the royal family, the King’s Troop and the Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to ride or drive through the Arch.
The arch was designed by John Nash in 1827. The design was based on Rome´s Arch of Constantine. It was built to serve as the main entrance to the extended Buckingham Palace. But guess what? It was never used! A common myth is that it was too narrow for the state coach to pass through.
It is not true as the State coach passed through during the coronation of Elizabeth II. For some reason it was moved here in 1851 to become the gateway to Hyde Park. I have read that there is a tiny office inside which served as a police station or lookout post. I wonder where it is because I couldn´t see it on the photo.
Interesting facts about Marble Arch:
* The grand statue of Kind George IV sat once at the top of the parapet. It was moved to Trafalgar Square.
* Only senior members of the Royal Family and one of the artillery regiments are allowed to pass beneath it.
* The area around Marble Arch is not very regal. It was once home to Tyburn Gallows and is marked by a plaque. London´s most notorious criminals were hanged here in front of huge crowds of spectators (1388 to 1793). Executions were later moved outside Newgate prison.
How to get there?
Nearest tube station: Marble Arch, Bond Street, Green Park
Buses: Nos. 10, 36, 74, 137 and 274
When: April 2004
Where: London, United Kingdom