York Column

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

Duke of York’s Column

The Duke of York’s Column or the York ColumnThe Duke of York’s Column or the York Column is a prominent London landmark situated at the top of Waterloo Steps (also known as the Duke of York’s Steps), which lead from the Mall through Carlton House Terrace into Waterloo Place.

It was completed in 1833 in memory of Frederick, Duke of York, George III’s second son, who died in 1827. Every member of the British Army was docked one day’s pay to finance its construction.

The column is of the Tuscan order, designed by Benjamin Wyatt, and is made of Aberdeen granite, surmounted by a statue of the duke by Sir Richard West­ma­cott. It contains a winding staircase to the platform, which is said to provide London’s best view of the statue of Nelson atop his pedestal in Trafalgar Square. However, few people are nowadays able to confirm this claim as public access is never permitted anymore.

The York Column is 138 feet (42m) high to the top of the statue – making it 31 feet shorter than Nelson’s Column.

“… some years ago the jumping down from the top and being smashed on the broad stones at its base was a fash­ion­able mode of commit­ting suicide. It’s a pity that none of the poor wretches ever thought of over throwing and jumping down with the statue of the Duke of York, for it stands ridicu­lously high, and the impres­sion it makes on that bad eminence is by no means agreeable.”

Max Schlesinger: Saun­ter­ings in and about London (1853)

See also: Giro the Nazi dog