Trafalgar Square

The images and pictures below present data about Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, United Kingdom, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. It is in the borough of the City of Westminster. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year's Eve.

The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. The original name was to have been "King William the Fourth's Square", but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name "Trafalgar Square".

In the 1820s, George IV engaged the architect John Nash to redevelop the area. Nash cleared the square as part of his Charing Cross Improvement Scheme. The present architecture of the square is due to Sir Charles Barry and was completed in 1845.

Trafalgar Square is owned by the Queen in Right of the Crown, and managed by the Greater London Authority, while Westminster City Council owns the roads around the square, including the pedestrianised area of the North Terrace.


The square consists of a large central area with roadways on three sides, and a terrace to the north, in front of the National Gallery. The roads around the square form part of the A4 road.The square was formerly surrounded by a one-way traffic system, but works completed in 2003 reduced the width of the roads and closed the northern side to traffic.

Nelson's Column is in the centre of the square, flanked by fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1937-9 as replacements for two earlier fountains of Peterhead granite (now in Canada), and guarded by four monumental bronze lions sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer. The column is topped by a statue of Horatio Nelson, the vice admiral who commanded the British Fleet at Trafalgar.

On the north side of the square is the National Gallery and to its east St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The square adjoins The Mall entered through Admiralty Arch to the southwest. To the south is Whitehall, to the east Strand and South Africa House, to the north Charing Cross Road and on the west side Canada House.

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From the time of Edward I to the early nineteenth century, most of the area now occupied by Trafalgar Square was the site of the King's Mews, which stretched north from the position of the original Charing Cross, where the Strand from the City met Whitehall, coming north from Westminster.

Clearance and Development

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Close places of interest

Operation Steinbock (0.03 km)

Operation Steinbock was the Second World War Luftwaffe nighttime bombing raid against southern England from January to May 1944, launched primarily for the sake of propaganda and as a measure of retaliation for RAF Bomber Command's attacks on German cities. Placed under the command of Generalmajor (Major–General) Dietrich Peltz, Luftflotte 3 (Air Fleet 3), the Germans assembled 474 bomber aircraft for the offensive. The operation ran parallel to Bomber Command's campaign against Berlin. The attacks were mainly in and around the Greater London area.

Fourth plinth, Trafalgar Square (0.05 km)

The Fourth Plinth is a plinth in Trafalgar Square in central London. It was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue of William IV, but remained bare due to insufficient funds. For over 150 years the fate of the plinth was debated; in 1999, a sequence of three contemporary artworks to be displayed on the plinth were announced. The success of this initiative led to a commission being formed to decide on a use for the plinth. Eventually that commission unanimously decided to continue using it for the temporary display of artworks.

T Square 200 (0.09 km)

T Square 200 or "The Spirit of Nelson" was the name given to the son et lumière event, held in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, October 23, 2005, to mark the bicentenary of the sea battle, the Battle of Trafalgar, fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined navies of France and Spain off Cape Trafalgar, Spain on 21 October 1805 under the command of British Admiral Lord Nelson. It was a large open air event, to a ticketed audience. Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Michael of Kent joined 10,000 members of the public to witness this commemorative occasion.

Cockspur Street (0.1 km)

Cockspur Street is a short thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, London, SW1, which links Trafalgar Square to Pall Mall, The Haymarket and Pall Mall East. On 29 June 2007, a car containing significant amounts of explosives was found on Cockspur Street. It did not detonate. Number 1 Cockspur Street, now the Texas Embassy Cantina, was at one time Oceanic House, the London office of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company or the White Star Line, which owned the famed liner RMS Titanic. The name can still be seen on the side and top of the side door.

London (0.1 km)

London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. With an estimated 8,308,369 residents in 2012, London is the most populous region, urban zone and metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its mediaeval boundaries and in 2011 had a population of 7,375, making it the smallest city in England.

Other mentions of Trafalgar Square

Nelson's Column

Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in central London built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The monument was constructed between 1840 and 1843 to a design by William Railton at a cost of £47,000. It is a column of the Corinthian order built from Dartmoor granite. The Craigleith sandstone statue of Nelson is by E. H. Baily and the four bronze lions on the base, added in 1867, were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer. The pedestal is decorated with four bronze relief panels, each square, cast from captured French guns.

St Martin-in-the-Fields

St Martin-in-the-Fields is an English and Chinese Anglican church at the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. It is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. There has been a church on the site since the medieval period; the present building was constructed to a Neoclassical design by James Gibbs in 1722–1724. History Roman era Excavations at the site in 2006 led to the discovery of a grave dated about 410.

The Mall, London

The Mall is a road in London running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. Before its termination at Whitehall it is met by Spring Gardens, which was where the Metropolitan Board of Works and, for a number of years, the London County Council were based. It is closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays, and on ceremonial occasions. The Mall began as a field for playing pall-mall. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was a fashionable promenade, bordered by trees.


Whitehall is a road in the City of Westminster, in central London, which forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from the site of the original Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Square. Recognised as the centre of Her Majesty's Government, the street is lined with government departments and ministries; the name "Whitehall" is thus also frequently used as a metonym for overall British governmental administration, as well as being a geographic name for the surrounding area.
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