Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

by Heather Robinette / Dec 18, 2015 /
Heather Robinette's picture

During my time in London, I had the chance to see several memorials and statues. Some of them were planned ,such as the Queen Victoria Memorial just outside of Buckingham Palace, but several of them I came across while I was exploring London. September 11 was a day many of us from the United States will never forget, but I had no idea they created a memorial anywhere else in the world. It was an eye-opening experience to see what it means to live in a global community. I have put together some information about the various memorials and statues I saw while studying abroad in London. Although there are many well-known memorials and statues, some of the best ones are found from just walking around the city. Don’t be afraid to explore London! 

Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Queen Victoria Memorial

During my first day in London, our group visited the outside of Buckingham Palace and saw the Queen Victoria Memorial. It is a very tall monument and a common place for picture on a normal day and during the Changing of the Guard. The entire area is very beautiful and well maintained.

Queen Victoria Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Nelson’s Column (Trafalgar Square)

Another popular destination to visit is Trafalgar Square. There you will find Nelson’s Column with stone lions. This monument sits just in front of the National Gallery. The stone lions are a popular picture, but I found the history of Nelson, as well as the history behind the statue, to be very fascinating. Nelson lost his right arm during one battle and later died during the Battle of Trafalgar. He is an inspirational leader in British history. Originally, they planned to have a statue of King William IV, but they later held a competition on the design of the statue, which took five and a half years to construct.

Nelson’s Column (Trafalgar Square). From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

September 11 Memorial 

Not far from the US Embassy, you will find the September 11 Memorial. I was very impressed when I came across it while walking around London. I never would have thought I would come across anything related to the United States such as the memorial. It brought many things into perspective for me that day. It may have directly affected citizens of the United States, but there was a ripple effect around the world. Several British citizens lost their lives that day as well. I was glad to see the UK government recognized that and not only built the memorial for the people they lost, but everyone that was lost that day. 

September 11 Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

September 11 Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

7 July 2005 Bombing Memorial 

Similar to the attack on the United States, only a few short years later, London experienced its own tragedy. The memorial speaks volumes by what it represents. Seeing that many pillars and knowing each one stands for a life they lost that day is hard grasp at first. I would highly recommend taking some time to check out this memorial. 

7 July 2005 Bombing Memorial . From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

7 July 2005 Bombing Memorial . From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Women of WWII

I was very impressed by this monument. Although I am not a British citizen, nor did I live during World War II, I feel very proud to see the courage and strength of women during that time recognized. It reminds me a lot of the United States history and how women stepped up in the day-to-day jobs back home. Women have come a long way since then and this monument is another reminder of women in history. 

Women of WWII. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Animals in War Memorial 

A great memorial dedicated to all of the animals that fought alongside the troops during the wars. This memorial was very touching to me. Animals are not always thought of when people think of war, but they are very much on the front lines including today. It is great to see animals recognized for their contribution to the past wars. I thought they did a great job with the memorial and the design.

Animals in War Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Animals in War Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Australian War Memorial 

The Australian War Memorial was one of my favorite designs. It is hard to get a good picture that captures the memorial as a whole. In the picture below, you can see the names of towns and even smaller are the names of the men and women who served. This is a great memorial to check out since it is not common for us to learn about in United States history and to admire the design.

Australian War Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Australian War Memorial. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Wellington Arch 

The Wellington Arch is easy to see and you will probably pass by it several times without realizing it. The arch is worth taking the time to check out in person. I admit, I went by it several times without realizing what it was or the history behind it. My favorite fact was that the arch was supposed to be the gateway to Buckingham Palace. 

Wellington Arch. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Vroom, Vroom Statue

Vroom, Vroom is a very unique statue by Lorenzo Quinn that I came across during a bus tour the first few days in London. The floating arm holding the car fascinated me. After looking up the meaning behind it, it is easy to understand what the artist was trying to portray and really gets you to reflect on life and the difference between adulthood and childhood. 

Vroom, Vroom Statue. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

“If Graffiti Changed Anything – It Would Be Illegal”

I walked past this wall every day on my way to class. I found it very fascinating when you think about the meaning behind the words. I loved coming across hidden and unique parts of London that the average tourist would not normally find. Below is a short blurb about it from the Wide Walls website. 

“If Graffiti Changed Anything is Banksy’s piece which pays homage to anarchist and women rights activist Emma Goldman who said “If voting changed anything it would be illegal”. Banksy created this graffiti piece in 2011. It is located by the garage at the BT Tower end of Clipstone Street in Fitzrovia, central London. The piece is painted in bright red color with the letters dripping paint. Below the text, standing on a ledge, is Banksy’s signature rat stenciled in black and white, with his left paw covered in red color as he left his paw print on the wall. If Graffiti Changed Anything is still there, covered in Perspex, but the paint is reportedly starting to flake off the wall.” 

“If Graffiti Changed Anything – It Would Be Illegal” - BANKSY. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

Disney – Mickey Mouse

Although it is not a historical memorial or true statue, how you could pass up the chance to visit a London Disney store? My mom loves Mickey Mouse so I had Disney on my list from the beginning. I had a lot of fun checking out the store and bought my mom plenty of gifts!

Disney – Mickey Mouse. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

M&M World

M&M World is another fun store where you get to see the M&M characters dressed up in uniform. The store is four stories so be ready to spend at least an hour in there going through all of the floors. It is huge! I had a lot of fun and luckily, the store was not too crowded when I went so it was easy to get around the store. I would highly recommend at least looking around the store. 

M&M World. From Important and Little-Known London Memorials and Statues

I hope that this information can help you in experiencing more of London. I never could have imagined that I would have come across that many statues and memorials from just walking around London. Don’t be afraid to explore London and look for things off the normal tourist path. You typically find some great places and experience things most others do not. I hope you have time to check out a few on my list and come across even more to start your own list of unique places you find! 

 

Heather Robinette is the London Study Abroad Editor for Wandering Educators. She notes, "During the summer of 2011, I studied abroad for six weeks in London at the University of Westminster with Academics Programs International. I graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I currently work as a marketing analyst for a small company in central Texas. I am also pursuing my MBA. While I was abroad in London, I was able to create many unforgettable memories that I will never forget! My study abroad experience helped me gain various skills, but above all else, it helped me to learn more about myself and the world around me." You can find her online at http://www.heatherrobinette.com/

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Heather Robinette, except word photo