Who Has The Most London Statues?

M@
By M@ Last edited 12 months ago
Who Has The Most London Statues?

Sometimes, one commemoration just isn't enough. Certain individuals — usually royals and military men — are granted yet greater honours in bronze. Below, we look at some of the individuals who've been multiply blessed with London statues. We're not counting busts (which sadly rules out Nelson Mandela), nor statues hidden away behind closed doors.

Queen Vic: Ten statues and counting

Queen Victoria undoubtedly has more dedications, place namings and other commemorations than any other non-religious figure. In London alone, she gave her name to a mainline station, its surrounding area, a major thoroughfare, a tube line and the nation's most famous pub. She also has at least ten full-length statues on public display in the capital, most of which are shown below. You can also find her likeness as an architectural ornament on the Hotel Russell, the Old Public Record Office and Guildhall.

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The Queen was born at Kensington Palace, as marked by this reclining statue outside. It was designed by the Queen's daughter, Princess Alice. Image by M@.
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Victoria Square in Belgravia contains a modern statue of Victoria. She is shown aged 20, as she would have been when the Square was first developed.
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Temple Bar marker at the boundary of Strand and Fleet Street contains this rather dodgy likeness of Queen V. Image by Mike Stnly under creative commons.
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Just north of Blackfriars Bridge. Image by lonpicman under creative commons licence.
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The famous statue of Victoria in front of Buckingham Palace. Image public domain.
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This statue in Carlton House Terrace makes the Queen look like a joyless fun-shrugger. Image by Ham under creative commons licence.
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The Queen, with another one of her "to be honest, I couldn't give a shit" faces. This time, she's in Croydon, near the library, as pictured by London Remembers.

The seven copies of Antony Gormley

We're cheating a bit here, but, well, Anthony Gormley does put himself about a bit. Most of his sculptures are based, in some way, on his own body shape, so might be considered statues. We reckon there are seven permanent and public sculptures of his frame around London, including the Quantum Cloud at Greenwich Peninsula, the bloke in the water near the Prospect of Whitby, and a figure on the roof of the Roundhouse. See this article for the complete breakdown, plus temporary work by the artist. Of course, the works are not necessarily meant to be 'him', so we totally understand if you want to throw eggs at us for such an inclusion.

Three times Churchill

Winston Churchill, unsurprisingly, is well commemorated in London. The rotund warlord is marked with three outdoor statues. The one in Parliament Square is the most famous. This is the statue that gained a turf mohican during a year 2000 protest. Elsewhere, Churchill shares a bench with Roosevelt on New Bond Street, placed there in 1995 to mark 50 years since the end of the Second World War. A third facsimile can be found at Woodford Green (Churchill's constituency). It is unusual in having been unveiled during the subject's lifetime. A fourth statue (and the best of all) stands hands-on-hips in the Members' Lobby of the House of Commons. It's not always visible to the public, however, so doesn't count towards our tally. Similarly, we're not including the likeness of Churchill being consumed by his armchair inside Guildhall.

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Churchill in Parliament Square. Mohican not pictured.
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Churchill in Woodford Green. Image via London Remembers.
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Churchill and Roosevelt take a break from shopping, on this Bond Street bench. Image via SurgeonsMate via creative commons.

A pair of Wellingtons, a possible third, and a fourth gone astray

Arthur Wellesley, otherwise known as the 1st Duke of Wellington, can be admired in two public statues, both equestrian. One stands in front of the Royal Exchange above Bank station. The other lurks close to his former home of Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner. A third contender can be found round the back, in Hyde Park. Here, the statue of Achilles is dedicated to the Duke. It was forged from 33 tonnes of bronze cannon, captured during Wellington's French campaigns. The face is said to be modelled on the Duke's. A further statue once perched upon the Wellington Arch, also at Hyde Park Corner, and was much ridiculed for its preposterous dimensions. It lasted about 40 years before going on permanent exile to Aldershot Barracks, where it can still be viewed today. Many other tokens of Wellington's career can be found around town, including a set of murals in Hyde Park Corner underpass and, of course, the entire area of Waterloo.

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Iron Duke outside the Bank of England. Image by psyxjaw in the Londonist Flickr pool.
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Another equestrian Wellington at Hyde Park Corner. Photo by M@.
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The massive Duke on top of Wellington Arch, and long since moved to Aldershot Barracks. Image Public Domain.
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The statue of Achilles in Hyde Park is dedicated to Wellington. His face is said to be modelled on Wellesley's.

London's most-commemorated animal

Several people have earned a pair of London statues. Edward VII, for example, prances around on his horse in Waterloo Place, and also skulks outside Tooting Broadway station. Thomas More can be found in Chelsea and Lincoln's Inn. But a special commendation must go to Guy the Gorilla — surely the only animal to boast two London statues. Bronze representations of the beast can be found at his old stomping ground of London Zoo, as well as in Crystal Palace Park. You can even see Guy himself. The famous primate died in 1978, but his stuffed body is on display in the Natural History Museum.

ZSL London Zoo's version of Guy, as depicted by Chris Huh. Creative Commons licence.

More of Moore

Another unusually well commemorated individual is footballer Bobby Moore. As far as we're aware, he's the only sportsperson to have two statues in London. One can be found outside the national stadium at Wembley. The other forms the centrepiece of the 1966 World Cup winners memorial, currently in East Ham but possibly destined to move to the Olympic Park when West Ham shift grounds next year.

A be-haloed Moore lifts the Jules Rimet trophy. Image by M@.

Zero

For all his associations with London, Charles Dickens lacks a statue. It's all his own doing. The prolific author made clear his distaste for such memorials. Nevertheless, he's commemorated by dozens of plaques and murals, and even a bust to mark his former home at Furnival's Inn. But that's not a full statue, and it's on private land, so we're not counting it.

Last Updated 10 February 2017

Rafe Heydel-Mankoo

There are at least 5 outdoor statues of Churchill in London which may be seen by the public at any time. In addition to the 3 you have listed supra there is a copy of the New Bond Street "Allies" (Churchill & Roosevelt) statue in Hampstead (it used to stand on Heath Street near the Catto Gallery, the gallery with a close association to the statues' sculptor, Lawrence Holofcener) -- the Heath Street statue is now in a Hampstead garden where it may still be seen from the street. For proof please see here: http://naomikryske.com/wp-cont....

The fifth outdoor statue of Churchill is on the cigar terrace of the Churchill Hyatt Regency Hotel in Portman Square, see: http://www.london.churchill.hy...
Any member of the public may access the cigar terrace to see the statue, but it may also be seen from the street if one peers through the terrace fence on Seymour Street. Coincidentally, this statue is also by Holofcener.

In my book "A London Peculiar: The London You Shouldn't Miss" (excuse the shameless plug), I claim that Shakespeare is the most commemorated non-royal person in London -- however I included all outdoor/public commemorations (busts, murals etc.) rather than statues alone.

HHGeek

I do sometimes wonder if Gormley would have had a career had he been short & fat.

Frank Owen

There is a statue of Wellington in Wellington Park in the Woolwich Arsenal. (next to Arsenal Way).

Also aren't there quite a lot of Jesus Christ (is he historical?)...