Admiral Horatio Nelson is one of Britain's foremost national heroes. Commander of the British fleet in the major naval battles of the Napoleonic wars, including the famous Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on 21 October 1805, he is one of the symbols of the maritime power of Britain in the XIX century. London is home to many famous landmarks associated with Napoleon. We suggest taking a walk around them.
Places associated with the figure of Admiral Nelson hold a special meaning for patriotic Britons. And those who are keen on history quite often take such routes to places of military glory.
The battle between the British and French-Spanish fleets at Cape Trafalgar is the most famous naval battle of the Napoleonic Wars. That's why it's best to start at the right place: majestic Trafalgar Square. In its centre stands a column topped with the figure of Nelson. The general's gaze is fixed on the far distance, the empty sleeve of his tunic (the admiral lost an arm in the Battle of St. Croix) pinned to his chest. At the base of the column are four bronze bas-reliefs that recount Nelson's battles: at Cape Trafalgar, over the Nile, over Copenhagen and at Santa Cruz. Beneath the image that greets us at the square's front entrance (from Whitehall Street), you can see the admiral's winged phrase he said during the Battle of Trafalgar to boost the soldiers' morale: "England expects everyone to do their duty." Be sure to take a closer look at the images - the sheer volume and detail of the battles is very impressive. Nelson's column is guarded by four metal sculptures of lions, whose proud appearance inspires calm for the fate of the British Crown. By the way, the version we see now is not the only one. The first generation of lions was created by a sculptor named Thomas Milnes, and they looked quite different. Though the specimen licking its paw is very cute, the sculptures were considered by the committee not monumental and intimidating enough. The project was then handed over to the architect Edwin Landseer, who created the current version.
After walking from Trafalgar Square towards Piccadilly Street, we find ourselves in Mayfair. One of its central shopping streets, New Bond Street, has at various times been the home of several famous political, military and cultural figures, including composer George Handel and, of course, Admiral Nelson. A circular Blue Plaque plaque indicates that Nelson lived there in 1798. If we compare this information with the Admiral's biography, we can trace the period of his life in which that year fell. After the battle of Santa Cruz, where Nelson lost his right arm, he returned to England with his wife Fanny - in London he hoped to get medical attention. He spent very little time in the capital - the last months of 1797 and three months in 1798, after which the naval commander again went on the hunt for the French fleet.
I suggest you start your walk through Nelson's grounds in Merton with a pint of stout at the Nelson Arms pub, which is located on the Admiral's former estate. The pub is decorated with beautiful images of Nelson's flagship ship, HMS Victory. The furnishings inside are unfortunately much less authentic than the outside, but there are no complaints about the quality of the Guinness.
The only house Lord Nelson ever owned was in an area called Merton, in south-west London. There he lived for some years with his beloved Lady Hamilton and his daughter Horace. Though the house itself has been left as a now-defunct housing estate, references to Nelson's exploits can be found at every turn in Merton. The area's website even has a guidebook called the Nelson Trail, which lists places that are associated with the admiral.
The 12th century St. Mary's Church is worth a visit. The building has undergone many alterations that reflect the influences of different eras. The entrance clearly recalls the Norman period, while inside you'll find signs of later periods, from Tudor to Victorian. In the hall is a memorial to Nelson, a painting containing heraldic symbols, which remained outside the admiral's house for some time after his death. Lady Hamilton herself then donated it to St Mary's Church. And nearby, in the garden of another church, a small memorial to the Admiral can be found.
The historic base of the English Royal Navy in Greenwich, where every place is imbued with the appropriate atmosphere. At its centre is the Naval College complex, designed (of course) by Sir Christopher Wren. By the way, the Royal Naval Museum is part of this ensemble. The museum contains exhibits that relate to different periods of the navy's development, and a separate floor is dedicated to the era of the Napoleonic Wars and Admiral Nelson. One of the main relics there is Nelson's "Trafalgar" tunic, on which you can examine the hole from the fatal bullet. In addition, the museum displays a detailed model of Admiral's flagship HMS Victory (although the model version at the Chatham shipyards, where Victory was built, looks much more imposing). Of particular note is the collection of paintings depicting various episodes from Nelson's life (and death). Particularly impressive is The immortality of Nelson, which depicts the admiral's body being lifted into the heavens towards Britannia (Britannia, the warrior woman symbolising Britain and the British Empire) by the gods Neptune and Victoria. There are many curious details in the painting, such as the plaque with Nelson's phrase about England and duty held by an angel.
After the Battle of Cape Trafalgar, during which Admiral Nelson, struck by the bullet of a French sniper, died, his body was taken to London. A few days it lay in the Royal Naval Hospital in Greenwich, where thousands of people came to pay tribute to the great naval commander. Nelson's funeral took place on Jan. 9, 1806, and it was one of the most extensive ceremonies, which was held in London at that time. Moreover, Nelson was the first person of non-royal blood for whom a state funeral was organized. The funeral procession took place from the Admiralty (which is in what is now Trafalgar Square) to St Paul's Cathedral, where Nelson was buried. The structure that housed the Admiral's coffin was in the shape of his flagship HMS Victory, and the coffin itself was, at Nelson's prior request, made from part of the French battleship L'Orient that he had captured in the Battle of the Nile. Admiral Nelson's tomb is located in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, the same place as the tombs of such British military and cultural figures as the commander Duke of Wellington, architect Christopher Wren, and artist William Turner. Sarcophagi of the two greatest generals of the British Napoleonic wars - Nelson and Wellington - are located literally ten steps away from each other. Interestingly, they met only once in their lifetime, briefly in the reception hall of the Secretary of State. Judging by the recollections of the meeting, which Wellington later shared, it cannot be said that a mutual sympathy was established between the two military men.