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