Did you know the Wellington’s Arch London in Hyde park was Londons smallest Police Station? Many people believe that the smallest station was that of the Police station at Trafalgar square. The one in Trafalgar was in fact a police look out box that could only house one officer. When the Wellington Arch was rebuilt on its present site in 1885-6, it became London’s smallest police station. The policemen stationed here managed the traffic around the area and looked after the royal parks. They also opened and closed the gates on formal occasions.
You can visit the Duke of wellington’s arch today and go up inside the monument for a spectacular view of the city.
Did you know the Duke of Wellington Arch was Londons smallest Police Station? The History of the smallest Police station in London
History of Wellington Arch London
The Wellington Arch was built in 1825–7 and was originally intended as an outer entrance to Buckingham Palace. It was once stood facing the Hyde Park Screen, but it was moved to its present position in the 1880s. Dismantling of the arch began in February 1883 to move it to help clear traffic jams in the area. By 1885 the arch had been rebuilt on its present site at Hyde Park Corner. It now sits proudly where Kensington Road meets Piccadilly near the junction with Park Lane.
Originally in 1846 it had a huge statue of the Duke of Wellington on top but it received great criticism for it being too large and it was moved. The quadriga sculpture on the arch today was placed there in 1912.
The History of the Wellington’s Arch Police Station
The police shared the arch with park gate-keepers from the 1800s but by 1952 Wellington Arch London police station housed ten constables, two sergeants and a cat called Snooks. When the Hyde Park Corner roundabout was created in 1959-62, an underpass was made underneath to carry the traffic from the east to the west. Half of the arch became an emergency ventilation shaft for the underpass. The police station closed as the structure of the arch began to deteriorate and shortly before work began on the underpass.
History of Wellingtons Arch Police station
When the police station closed the Arch ran in to disrepair. Then in 1997 the Arch was put on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register. The metal support rods were rusty and unsafe. The stonework was cracked and the decorative carving’s were damaged.
The English Heritage took over the care of the arch in 1999. After extensive restoration and refurbishment work, the arch finally reclaimed its former glory and was opened to the public in 2001.
English Heritage set about restoring the monument to its former glory at a cost of £1.5m. The balconies beneath the sculpture were opened to the public. Here you can see panoramic views across central London which includes the Houses of Parliament and Horse Guards Parade.
Visiting Wellingtons Arch London today
Today the Arch is open to the public. There is an exhibtion of the life of the Arch inside and you can walk up to the top. Once on top of Wellington’s Arch you can Peek into the Queen’s back gardens from the balcony. It had beautiful views and looks out over London’s Royal Parks to the Houses of Parliament.
If you get there at the right time you can watch the Household Cavalry passing through the arch on their way to and from the Changing of the Guard and horse Guards Parade. They Stop the traffic underneath and ride on horseback under the arch.
When to see Horse Guards parade pass through Wellington Arch
Around 10.28am Monday to Saturday the New Guard leaves Hyde Park Barracks and rides along South Carriage Drive through Hyde Park Gate. After leaving the park they cross Hyde Park Corner and ride through the Wellington Arch.
The return trip is after 11.30 when the ceremony ends. The Old Guard leave the Horse Guards parade retracing their ride. They go down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace, up Constitution Hill and again back through the Wellington Arch and Hyde Park Gate.
Wellingtons Arch History