Five facts about Nelson’s column

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It’s one of London – and England’s – most iconic sights but how much do you really know about Nelson’s column?

It wasn’t erected until 1843

The column was completed almost 40 years after Admiral Horatio Nelson’s death at the battle of Trafalgar at an estimated cost of £47,000.

World famous lions

The four bronze lions at the base weren’t added until 1867. They were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer and he initially used a dead lion as a model for the sculptures.

Protest site

In 2003 a professional stuntman protesting against Chinese policy towards Tibet parachuted off the top of the column.

Nelson Coveted by Hitler

Nazi leader Adolf Hitler planned to take the column back to Germany if they had defeated Britain. A plan drawn up by the SS noted that, ‘Nelson Column represents for England a symbol of British Naval might and world domination. It would be an impressive way of underlining the German Victory if the Nelson Column were to be transferred to Berlin’.

Shorter than expected

During refurbishment in 2006 it was found to be 14 ft 6 in (4.4 m) shorter than previously supposed. The whole monument is 169 ft 3 in (51.6 m) tall from the bottom of the pedestal to the top of Nelson’s hat.