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Marble Arch as it is now.
This is the view from the south of the monument.


Marble Arch is a white Carraramarker-marble monument at the junction of Oxford Streetmarker, Park Lane, and Edgware Roadmarker, almost directly opposite Speakers' Cornermarker in Hyde Parkmarker in Londonmarker, Englandmarker. The arch is on a large traffic island, which also includes a very small park, in the midst of swirling traffic. The traffic island is directly across from the Marble Arch tube stationmarker.

The name "Marble Arch" also refers to the locality in west London where the arch is situated, particularly, the southern portion of Edgware Roadmarker. Historically, only members of the royal family and the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, have been allowed to pass through the arch in ceremonial procession.

History

In 1828, John Nash designed the arch based on the triumphal archmarker of Constantinemarker in Romemarker. It was originally erected on The Mallmarker as a gateway to the new Buckingham Palacemarker, which was rebuilt by Nash from the former Buckingham House. At that time, Buckingham Palace did not yet have its present flat east front, which meant that the inner courtyard, flanked by two wings, was still open on one side. The Marble Arch was placed at the entrance to this open side of the courtyard.

In 1851, the arch was moved to its present location during the building of the east front of the palace. (A popular story says that the arch was moved because it was too narrow for the Queen's state coach to pass through, but, in fact, the gold state coach passed under it during Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953).

It has been speculated that the arch might be moved across the street to Hyde Park, or to some other more-accessible location, instead of its current position on a large traffic island.

Design

There are three small rooms inside the arch that were used as a police station until 1950, first for the royal constables of the Park and later the Metropolitan Police. One policeman stationed there during the early 1860s was Samuel Parkes, who won the Victoria Cross in the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854, during the Crimean War.

Due to Nash's financial problems, some sculptures intended for the arch ended up on the façade of the National Gallerymarker. In particular are those high up on the east façade, opposite the Edith Cavell memorial, Britannia, and above the old main entrance, under the portico. The statues missing from under the portico were originally intended to represent the campaigns of the Duke of Wellington. These sculptures include reclining personfications of Europe and Asia/India, with a blank roundel between them. Had the arch been completed as planned, the Duke of Wellington's face would have been depicted in the roundel.

Location

Public transport access
London Buses Marble Arch
2, 10, 16, 36, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 414, 436
London Underground Marble Archmarker


The nearest London Underground station is Marble Archmarker on the Central Line.

The area around the arch forms a major road junction connecting Oxford Streetmarker to the east, Park Lane (A4202marker) to the south, Bayswater Roadmarker (A402marker) to the west, and Edgware Roadmarker (A5) to the north-west. The short road directly to the north of the arch is also known as Marble Arch.

The area once was home to the largest cinema screen in London at the Odeon Marble Archmarker cinema. The screen was originally over wide. The Odeon showcased 70 mm films in a large circle-and-stalls auditorium. The cinema was converted into a mini-plex in 1997.

The arch is near the largest Marks & Spencer store in the United Kingdommarker.

The arch also stands close to the site of the Tyburn gallows (sometimes called 'Tyburn Tree'), a place of public execution from 1388 until 1793.

Image gallery

Image:National Gallery Marble Arch sculptures 001.jpg|EuropeImage:National Gallery Marble Arch sculptures 002.jpg|Asia/IndiaImage:Britannia, National Gallery.jpg|Britannia, now Minerva, patroness of the arts

References

  1. The London Encyclopaedia Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert pp. 496 {Macmillan, 1983} ISBN 0333325567
  2. Coronation route
  3. Marooned Marble Arch may be moved


External links




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