|HCC Site ID:||1862||Parish:||Wellington Ward, Aldershot|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Ministry of Defence|
Location and Site
The Wellington Monument is situated to the north east of Aldershot Town Centre and north east of the Church of All Saints across Claycart road. It stands on Round Hill that was levelled for the erection of the statue. At that time there were views across the entrance to Long Valley to the north and west. The area is now well wooded.
In 1826 a triumphal arch, designed by the architect, Decimus Burton, was constructed at Hyde Park Corner, at public expense, to form a grand entrance to the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
The Wellington Military Memorial Committee, founded by Thomas Bridge Simpson, raised £14,000 by public subscription for a statue of the Duke of Wellington, to be placed on the Arch. The siting, directly opposite Apsley House, the London home of the Duke, was controversial. Among those who opposed the siting was Decimus Burton, who considered that the intended statue would be out of scale with the triumphal arch. Parliament only gave its approval after a full size wooden model had been erected on the arch in April 1838.
The great bronze statue of the Duke, representing him mounted on his favourite horse, Copenhagen, at the Battle of Waterloo, was raised onto the arch on 30 September 1846. The statue was designed and constructed by Mathew Coates Wyatt at his studio at Dudley House in the Harrow Road. Both the transport of the statue to Hyde Park Corner and its erection onto the arch were accompanied by much ceremony, and attracted large crowds.
Road improvements in the vicinity of Hyde Park Corner, to cope with increasing traffic congestion, made it necessary to move the arch from its original site. In 1883 after much debate the Prince of Wales recommended that the arch should be taken to the top of Constitution Hill, and suggested that the statue be moved to Aldershot. The statue lay in pieces in Green Park for about a year. It was moved to Aldershot, still in parts, over four days in August 1884, and was ceremonially handed over to the Aldershot Division, by the Prince of Wales, on August 19. The statue was reconstructed and erected on its new site on Round Hill, overlooking the entrance to the Long Valley, and close to the Queens Pavilion and to the Garrison Church. The inaugural ceremony, with the statue in place, was conducted on 19 August 1885.
The top of the hill was levelled and the statue erected on a large plinth. Sixteen 32-pounder guns were placed around the base of the plinth, supporting a chain, in front of which was a narrow grass covered terrace guarded by a chevaux de frise from which the hill sloped suddenly down. This slope was to be grassed and the base planted with beds of rhododendrons. From maps and postcards it appears that the area was landscaped with well-defined paths. The upkeep of the area has been spasmodic, usually at notable events like the centenary celebrations. It is likely to have another face lift for the Queen’s Jubilee year celebrations in 2002.
HGT Research, July 2001
Click here to visit Wellington Monument web page