Around Trafalgar Square, London Location map
 
  Photograph of the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, England   Trafalgar Square.

The National Gallery, on the left, with the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields beyond. This is on the terrace above the square which is down some steps out of the picture to the right.

 

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  Photograph of  St. Martin's-in-the-Fields church, London, England   Trafalgar Square.

St. Martin-in-the-Fields on the edge of Trafalgar Square.

The earliest reference to the church is from 1222 with a dispute between the Abbot of Westminster and the Bishop of London as to who had control over it. The church was rebuilt by Henry VIII in 1542 to avoid plague victims from the area having to pass through his Palace of Whitehall. At this time, it was literally "in the fields" in an isolated position between the cities of Westminster and London.

The church survived the Great Fire of London which did not reach as far as the City of Westminster, but was replaced with a new building in 1726.

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  Photograph of  Trafalgar Square, London, England   Trafalgar Square.

Whilst the square was being laid out the newspapers of the time began asking what it was for and it soon became apparent that the authorities didn't know. Someone had thought that a big square would be a good idea and now they were going to have to find a use for it.

Various suggestions were proposed none of which were popular and it wasn't until four years after the square had been laid out that someone suggested a memorial to Nelson. That suggestion was very popular and was quickly accepted.

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  Photograph of one of the fountains, Trafalgar Square, London, England   Trafalgar Square.

A close view of one of the fountains showing the National Gallery and the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields at the back.

The original purpose of the fountains was not aesthetics, as you might imagine, but to reduce the open space available and the risk of riotous assembly. You weren't thinking of rioting were you?

 

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  Photograph of Admiralty Arch, Trafalgar Square, London, England   Trafalgar Square.

In the south-western corner of Trafalgar is Admiralty Arch and you really can't miss it. On the far side of the arch is the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace.

Completed in 1912 it adjoins the Old Admiralty Building hence its name. It is no longer used as government offices.

Make your way from here to Northumberland Avenue to the east.

 

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