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Marble Arch

Marble Arch (71)

Very close to Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner, at the junction between Park lane and Oxford Street, you will find a roundabout overlooked by this large triumphal arch. 

Marble Arch was designed in 1827 by the architect John Nash. Its reference model was the Constantine arch, a monument built in Rome in the 4th century and situated alongside the Coliseum. 

The arch was erected as a main entrance to Buckingham Palace, but during the enlargement of the palace undertaken during the reign of Queen Victoria it was decided to move it to its current location. The moving operation was agreed on in 1851. Some people say that the relocation of the monument was because the arch was too narrow and the royal carriage could not go through its wrought iron gates. However, this argument is totally debunked if you realise that in 1953 the Gold State Coach went through the arch during the long parade for the coronation of Elizabeth II. 

Today, the only people authorised to pass under the arch are the Royal Family and the soldiers belonging to the regiment of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.  

As its name indicates, the material used to build Marble Arch is indeed marble, specifically the highly-valued Carrara marble. Part of the inside is hollow and for some years was used by the police.

If you look carefully, on the road next to the arch you will see a triangular stone plaque that recalls that this was where the Tyburn gallows were situated, the place where for years the prisoners from the Tower of London were publicly executed.

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