Wellington Arch, at Hyde park Corner, was originally commissioned by George IV as a magnificent outer entrance to Buckingham Palace. Originally known as Constitution Arch or the Green Park Arch, it was commissioned by George IV to commemorate Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic wars. Wellington Arch was designed by the architect, Decimus Burton and built between 1826 and 1830. It was originally destined to be much grander but George IV overspent when doing up Buckingham Palace. In 1846 it was decided that the arch should be topped by a statue of the Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo. An enormous statue, designed by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, was placed above the arch, but was the cause of great controversy. In 1882-3 the arch was moved to its present position, and in due course the Duke’s statue moved to Aldershot.In 1912 an enormous bronze statue depicting the angel of peace descending on the chariot of war (designed by Adrian Jones) was placed above the arch. It is the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.Wellington Arch, until 1992 a small police station, is now a museum with three floors of exhibits telling its history. It also has a fine viewing gallery. Most days the Horse Guards pass through it on their way to Knightsbridge Barracks in Hyde Park, and The Queen drives through the centre of it rather than round Hyde Park Corner.
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