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Published February 8th 2017
If it's good enough for the Royal Family
Marble Arch sits on a large island in the middle of a network of busy, noisy roads in central London. Traffic, car horns, engines and smog fill the air. Arguably, this isn't the grandest of locations for one of London's iconic landmarks. So is it worth a visit? Here are 10 reasons to take a look.
1. Where Marble Arch now sits wasn't its intended home. It was designed by John Nash in 1828 to be the main entrance to Buckingham Palace.
2. In 1851, Marble Arch was moved to its present location. Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and moved to Buckingham Palace. As the years passed, Queen Victoria's court and family outgrew the palace, and so an extension was built. Sadly, there was no longer room for this grand white marble archway.
3. If Marble Arch reminds you of Paris' Arch de Triomphe that's because its design was partly based on it.
4. Marble Arch was designed to commemorate the British victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo. The reliefs show three female figures and represent England, Scotland and Ireland.
5. Originally Marble Arch was more decorative than it currently is but some of the original carvings and sculptures are now displayed elsewhere. A bronze statue of King George IV was supposed to sit on top of the arch. He now spends his time in Trafalgar Square.
6. That said... the original bronze gates are still in place.
7. Here's a bit of historical trivia: In the late 1500s, the Tyburn Tree stood in this site. The 'Tree' was a type of gallows where several criminals could be all hanged at the same time. The popular saying 'one for the road' came from here. Felons were allowed one last drink at any hostelry en route to their execution.
8. Marble Arch doubled up as a police station from 1851 for over a hundred years.
9. There is a weird giant statue of a horse's head next to Marble Arch. Seriously. It's really weird. Have a look.
10. Oxford Street is just a stone's throw away. When you've soaked up enough history, why not go shopping?