Monday 19 May 2014

Parliament Square

Inspired by my 'Statues of London' book I took a trip up the Jubilee Line this morning to Parliament Square. There are now proper crossings to get to the centre so rather than jay-walking the (admittedly slow moving) traffic you can get to the green centre with ease. The protest camps that used to line the edge opposite the Palace of Westminster are a thing of the past; and the lawn that was relaid after the last protest (I've forgotten who set up camp) continues in its verdant greenery.

There are a number of statesmen around the square - famous British (mostly) an American President and two South Africans. On the West side of the square (opposite side of the road to the green) you will find George Canning (in Roman attire) and Abraham Lincoln  (a replica of the statue in Lincoln Park in Chicago). Head towards the Abbey and you will find a pedestrian crossing to take you to the centre where you will come face to face (along the Western side of the green) with Nelson Mandela, Sir Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli and Edward, Earl of Derby. Along the Northern edge Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston; Jan Smuts (Prime Minister of South Africa), David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. All of the statues apart from Lloyd George and Mandela (both erected in the 21st Century) are Grade II listed.

There are famous buildings on all sides of the square - east is of course the Palace of Westminster, to the South Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's Church, to the West the building formerly the Middlesex Guildhall - now the Supreme Court and taking up the North Side a portion of Her Majesty's Treasury (part of the immense Whitehall complex of Government).

A perfect day for a visit today as the weather was glorious. It is worth bearing in mind that if you want to visit Parliament or Westminster Abbey an early start is in order as queues get quite long (at all times of year)!

Parliament Square

A set by nat_grove
Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and various statues
George CanningWinston ChurchillWinston Churchill
Abbey windowWestminster and St Margaret's
Secular and SacredGeorge Canning
Oliver CromwellOliver Crowmwell