Designed by architect John Nash, Marble Arch is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Nash’s fingerprints are all over the nation’s capital as he was responsible for carrying out work on Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Regent’s Park and Regent Street. Made of white Carrara marble and taking the Constantine Arch in Rome as its inspiration, the arch stands as the gateway to London’s world famous West End.
Construction of the arch started in 1827. Work was stopped in 1830 due to financial problems but resumed again in 1832. The arch was finally completed in 1833. The arch initially included a statue of King George IV on top but this was later moved to Trafalgar Square.
Originally built to be used as the front gate for Buckingham Palace, the arch was first positioned on the Mall. It was moved to its current position on the corner of Hyde Park at Cumberland Gate in 1851 when the Palace was extended. The current site of the arch is close to a location used for public hangings between 1300 and 1783 -- around 50,000 prisoners from Newgate Prison were hung at Tyburn Gallows.
In the past only select members of the royal family and troops belonging to the King’s Royal Horse Artillery were allowed to use the arch. Anyone may use the arch as it stands today. From 1851 to 1968 the arch was used as a Police Station.
The newest restoration of the arch was completed in June 2009 at a cost £2.1m. The restoration was funded by Westminster City Council and Transport for London. Also contributing financial assistance were the New West End Company and English Heritage.
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