London History: The history of Marble Arch, London

Located on a connecting traffic island between Oxford Street, Park Lane, Bayswater Road and Edgware Road, near to some of the city’s swankiest hotels, Marble Arch is one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks in London. Designed in 1827 by prominent Regency era architect John Nash, the arch was originally built to be the state entrance connecting to Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Britain’s sitting monarch.

From 1827 to 1851, Marble Arch remained in its original resting spot, but upon the initiation of an urban planner named Decimus Burton, the landmark was approved for relocation to the ground near Hyde Park where it still sits to this day.

From a traditional standpoint, only members of the British Royal Family, the King’s Troop and the Royal Horse Artillery are permitted to actually pass through the arch itself, and this happens on a number of different ceremonial processions. Despite this traditional dispute of access, the entire Marble Arch structure itself is very accessible to tourists who are keen to get a closer look.

In total, Marble Arch is 45 feet high and measures 60 feet by 30 feet. Something that many British citizens and tourists alike are unaware of is the fact that the arch actually contains a number of rooms within its elaborate structure. From 1851 to as late as 1968, three rooms within Marble Arch were used as a police station.

Unlike many other of the settled, well established hotels, landmarks, and monuments in and around London, Marble Arch continues to be a source of discussion for architects and planners in the city. In 2005, it was speculated that the arch might be moved from its current location to a spot not far away within the confines of Hyde Park. The reasoning for this being that the landmark would then be even more accessible than it currently is.

From the early 19th century to the early 21st century, it is clear to see that Marble Arch is still an iconic British landmark that draws crowds and intrigue on a daily basis.

By Wei-Te Wong from Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China – 大理石拱門, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=75488499

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