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This pigeon-filled square is London’s principal venue for rallies and outdoor public meetings and is also a very popular location to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  The square was built in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson after his victory in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Britain’s most famous sea Lord, Nelson died in this famous battle against Napoleon.   Trafalgar Square was designed by John Nash and constructed in the 1830s, on the site that was originally the mews for royal hawks and then royal stables.   Dominating the square is the 171 feet column, Nelson’s Column, with its 18 feet statue of Nelson on top.  At its base are friezes cast from metal from French and Spanish cannon captured at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Before the statue of Nelson was installed 14 stonemasons held a dinner on the flat top of the column.  Although Nelson’s Column was erected in 1843, the four bronze lions guarding the base, by Edwin Lanseer, were not added until 1868.    The fountains, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, were added in 1939. Trafalgar Square is also the location of London’s smallest police station. Many notable buildings surround Trafalgar Square. On the north side is the National Gallery and its annex, the Sainsbury Wing.  On the west side is Canada House and on the east, South Africa House.  St-Martin-in-the Fields, built by James Gibb in 1726, stands in a prominent position at the north-east corner overlooking the square.  To the south are the Grand Buildings, with their arcade, which were built as the Grand Hotel in 1844.  Admiralty Arch, also to the south, was designed by Webb in 1911.  This impressive building, with its triple arch, formed part of Webb’s scheme to rebuild the Mall as a processional route honouring Queen Victoria.  Admiralty Arch seals the eastern end of the Mall and separates courtly London from the busy Trafalgar Square.  The central gate is only opened for royal processions.

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