I love London! ❤
Welcome to the second post in “My London” series. Today’s instalment is about a unique London landmark…
The Albert Memorial
Located in Kensington Gardens, The Albert Memorial sits high above street level, directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall. Its height means that it is clearly visible from quite a distance, including from neighbouring Hyde Park. It is a large and ornate memorial; a very distinctive and iconic landmark. Designed by George Gilbert Scott, it was formally unveiled in 1872, in commemoration of Prince Albert’s death, who died at a young age (42).
The memorial cannot be sufficiently enjoyed in a fleeting visit and requires your attention if you are to truly admire it. Whilst it may look slightly extravagant, yet simple, from a distance, the detail included in the design is incredible. The memorial is essentially, a celebration of Victorian achievement, highlighting Prince Albert’s passions and interests. Therefore, the Albert Memorial is not only commemorative of Prince Albert, but also homage to his wife, Queen Victoria, and her rule.
The Albert Memorial, portrays a beautiful picture of the Victorian era. The Victorian years were a time of British strength and power (British Empire), a time of growth and development. It was a time of industrialisation and commercialisation, forming the basis of modern life. Life became more scientific, liberal and healthy. Society become more educated and wealthier. Architecture also transformed as building practices developed to accommodate growing (and travelling) populations.
In a nutshell, the Albert Memorial tells the story of Queen Victoria’s era. The four outer corners of the memorial, pay homage to Europe, Africa, Asia and America. Manufacture, commerce, agriculture and engineering are represented in the inner sections of the memorial, in the form of figurines. The gold gild around the memorial, in my opinion symbolises the wealth and grandeur of the era / Empire. The gargoyles are a nod to the gothic style of architecture, which perhaps suggests an ecclesiastical aura to the memorial (gothic medieval architecture mostly developed in churches and cathedrals, see: Reims I and Reims II). The angelic cherubs perhaps symbolise the moral and spiritual values of the era, since Queen Victoria was the head of the Anglican Church. Prince Albert’s love for the Arts is depicted in the frieze that sits at the foot of the structure. There are 187 carved figures in this frieze. You really must dedicate some time to absorb the magnitude of the memorial’s design.
Nearest Underground Station: South Kensington
See you soon for Part III 🙂