Would you believe we’re in the middle of central London?And it feels like it is just me and the squirrels. We stopped to look at the iconic stone Bomber Command Memorial honouring the 55,573 aircrew who died during World War II.
Next to the memorial is a very, very busy roundabout. Cars, buses, taxis, motorbikes all seem to converge here and drive around it, merging and exiting and merging again. All these years that we have lived in London, whenever we are driving past, we keep our eyes on the road rather than look at the Wellington Arch on the traffic island. We have never ever set foot on it because Mummy never figured out how to get to it past the traffic whizzing by! It was only when a visiting friend asked us as we drove past what was the name of the arch that it peaked Mummy’s interest. So this time, Mummy said we should brave the lanes of traffic and cross over to the isolated island.Phew! And we made it! So this is the Wellington Arch, conceived as an outer gateway to Constitution Hill and built between 1826 and 1830. Both this Wellington Arch and the Marble Arch were planned in 1825 by George IV to commemorate Britain’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars.
It was a grand entrance and the beginning of London, thus the nickname for Apsley House, the lone grand building standing on the south-east corner of Hyde Park is Number One, London.Reason being – it was the first house passed by visitors who travelled from the countryside after the toll gates.
The eighteenth-century Apsley House was once the London residence of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. Today it is a museum and art gallery.
And definitely not clearly visible to people driving by this traffic island is the New Zealand War Memorial – dedicated to the New Zealand people and culture, commemorates the long relationship between New Zealand and The United Kingdom.
May’s comment: As we said in this blog, I have always been curious what goes on in the traffic island – a very busy convergence of traffic coming in from all directions. I never thought how one could cross all those traffic lanes to get to it. And glad we did. Finally had a look at Wellington Arch and then to discover that there were people who were just hanging out during lunch time on the greens – in the middle of traffic! There’s still so much to discover about London.