Search Model
dc hookups


London has more statues than any other city in the world, while in some parts it seems that every other house is marked by a blue plaque.  Throughout London the statues, monuments, and houses of great men stand in silent commemoration of the prominent figures in the nation's history.  A selection of London's more interesting monuments and statues, featuring eight men who made their homes in London and who, in their different ways, changed the face and course of Britain's history.

THOMAS CARLYLE  1795 - 1881
Born in Ecclefechan, Scotland, Thomas Carlyle was a member of a strictly Calvinistic family which has plans for him to enter the Church.  Carlyle, however, was more attracted towards jounalism and writing, and became a regular contributor to the Edinburgh Review while he privately compiled Sartor Resartus, a philosophical work based on his own confusion over religious doctrine.  In 1834 he and his wife, Jane, moved to London where they occupied 24 Cheyne Row for the rest of their lives.  Here Carlyle wrote his major historical works, all of which were liberally spiced with his own thoughts and earned him the title  'Sage of Chelsea'.  He died on February 5th, 1881 and was buried in Ecclefechan, according to his express wishes, and despite the offer of a burial place in Westminster Abbey.  He is regarded as one of the most distinguished essayists in the English language.

DR SAMUEL JOHNSON  1709 - 1784
Johnson studied literature from an early age, but was unable to complete his degree course at Oxford because he ran out of money.  Johnson moved to London in 1737 and worked on political articles and a  'Turkish tragedy'  which was later staged in the city.  It was not a success, and close within two weeks.  In 1747 he was commissioned to work on the now famous dictionary, but was obliged to produce essays and other writings continuously to keep himself out of debt.  The dictionary took 8½ years to complete, and it contained 40,000 words, with more carefully researched definitions and shades of meaning than had ever been thought possible.  Johnson next undertook the mammoth task of editing the complete works of Shakespeare.  In 1763 he met James Boswell.  They became firm friends, and the diary which Boswell kept contains most of the quotations which are attributed to Johnson.  The man who was to become the most frequently quoted Englishman after Shakespeare died in London December 13th, 1784 and was buried in Westminster Abbey a week later.

17 Gough Square
Johnson lived in this handsome 18th-century house between 1749 and 1759 and it was here that he wrote the dictionary.


24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea
This small 18th-century house, now owned by the National Trust, contains much Carlyle memorabilia.  The attic study and the kitchen where he often entertained Tennyson are preserved exactly as Carlyle knew them.

WILLIAM HOGARTH  1697 - 1764
A native of London, Hogarth began his career as an apprentice silverplate engraver, and later set up as a designer and publisher of popular prints and as a book illustrator.  He began to paint portraits and what he referred to as  'dramatic' paintings - a series of pictures telling a story - notably A Harlot's Progress and The Rake's Progress.  He was made a governor of the Foundling Hospital  (now the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children), which was founded by Captain Thomas Coram in 1739, and was commissioned to paint a number of portraits, including one of Coram.  Hogarth returned to his  'dramatic' work in 1744, producing his most famous paintings, the six scenes which make up Marriage a la Mode, and finally, in 1754, the four pictures of An Election.  Throughout his life Hogarth championed the cause of English art.  He helped to establish an art school in London and set up a permanent exhibition of works by the rising generation of painters at the Foundling Hospital; this was a forerunner of the Royal Academy, which was founded shortly  after Hogarth's death.

Hogarth Lane, Great West Road, Chiswick
Paintings, prints, and personal relics are displayed in the 17th-century house, which was Hogarth's home for 15 years.

CHARLES DICKENS  1812 - 1870
Dickens started work as a reporter, first at the Law Courts and then in Parliament, and began to contribute articles to various magazines.  His first full length novel, The Pickwick Papers, grew from what amounted to a magazine strip cartoon.  The cascade of brilliantly descriptive novels which followed reflected his acute observations of society and sympathy for his his often grotesque characters.  In his later years Dickens embarked on an exhausting series of public readings at which he read his own works, and toured America in 1867.  He pushed himself beyond the limits of physical endurance and died at Gads Hill on June 9th, 1870, leaving his final novel, Edwin Drood, uncompleted.

48 Doughty Street
Dickens and his family lived here from 1837 to 1839, during which period he completed  The Pickwick Papers, and wrote Lover Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.  There is a reconstruction of Dingly Dell Kitchen, as described in The Pickwick Papers, in the basement.

JOHN KEATS  1795 - 1821
Born in London, Kreats was apprenticed to a surgeon and worked for a time at Guys' and St Thomas' hospitals.  By 1817 however, he had forsaken his profession and devoted his life to writing poetry.  His first work, Poems, was published that same year, and Endymion, a lengthy poem based on Greek legends, appeared in 1818.  From 1818 to 1820 Keats lived at Wentworth Place with his friend Charles Brown, while next door lived his lover nurse Fanny Brawne.  It was here that Keats produced his greatest poetry, including the famous Odes.  By 1820 he was crippled by tuberculosis, and not even a journey to the more equable Italian climate could halt its progress.  Keats died in Rome on February 23rd, 1821, leaving behind, in addition to his poetry, what is probably the most spontaneous and revealing collection of letters written by any English poet.

Wentworth Place, Keats Grove, Hampstead
The two regency housed occupied by Keats and Fanny Brawne have now been made into one.  They are furnished in period style and contain manuscripts, letters and relics.  Ode to a Nightingale was written in the garden.

dc hookups

SAMUEL PEPYS  1633 - 1703
Pepys went to university at Cambridge, and held several clerical positions before beginning work at the Admiralty in 1660.  He began to keep a diary at about this time, was forced to discontinue his daily recordings in 1669, due to the deterioration of hes eyesight, the journal ran to 1,250,000 words.  It has been called a descriptive work of art and is undoubtedly the best account of life in Charles II's London, with its eyewitness accounts of the Coronation, the Plague and the Great Fire, not to mention revealing pen-portraits of his contemporaries.  Pepys' continuing dedication to his work at the Admiralty was rewarded in 1673 when he was appointed administrative head of the navy.  He immediately began to attack the corruption which had been spreading throughout the service, thus making enemies who were determined to bring about his downfall.  In 1678 an attempt was made to implicate him in a murder and when this failed, a false charge of treason was brought against him and he was sent to the Tower, only escaping with his life because the current Parliament was dissolved.  Charles II reinstated Pepys in 1683 and he held his former post at the Admiralty until his retirement in 1689.  The diarist spent his final years among his books, researching a history of the navy, which remained incomplete at his death in 1703.  Samuel Pepys lived at 12 Buckingham Street, from 1679 until 1688.  The house is marked with a blue plaque but is not open to the public.  No. 14, where he lived from 1688 to 1700, has been demolished.

Born in Dublin, Wellesley completed his early military training in France, and for the next few years divided his time between the army and the Irish House of Commons.  Active service in India at the turn of the 18th-century earned him a knighthood, but it was the Peninsular War, which began in 1808, that enabled him to demonstrate his military expertise to the full.  Within five years he had driven the French out of Portugal and Spain and defeated Napoleon's army in 1814 at Toulouse.  Wellesley received his dukedom, plus other decorations, following this campaign.  His final strategic confrontation with Napoleon took place the following year, culminating in the Battle of Waterloo on June 18th, 1815.  The Duke then resumed his political career and in 1828 became Prime Minister.  His staunch opposition to sweeping change made him extremely unpopular and the windows of Apsley House were broken so many times that they had to be covered with iron shutters.  He retired from public life in 1846, and died six years later at Walmer Castle, his official residence as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

dc hookups

Apsley House, 149 Piccadilly
This mansion was designed by Robert Adam in the late 18th-century and was the property of the Duke from 1817 until his death.  It was opened to the public as the Wellington Museum in 1952.

Originally from Wiltshire, Wren studied science at oxford, and later became a professor of astronomy, a subject in which he always kept an active interest.  He visited France in 1665, primarily to study architectural styles, and on his return to England formulated plans for the re-modelling of St Paul's Cathedral.  Before these plans could come to fruition fate took a hand and the Great Fire engulfed the cathedral and a large proportion of the City.  Wren submitted a plan for the complete reconstruction of the City as soon as the Fire had been extinguished, and although it was not accepted, he was subsequently selected to join the rebuilding committee and was appointed general surveyor in 1669.  Never before, or since, has one architect undertaken the simultaneous rebuilding of a major cathedral and as many as 50 churches.  He died on February 25th, 1723 and was buried in the cathedral.  His epitaph reads simply;  'If you seek a monument, look about you'.

49 Bankside
A plaque on the wall of this 17th-century house marks the building in which Wren lived while supervising the rebuilding of St Paul's.

The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gore
This enormous and imposing memorial is a monument not only to Prince Albert, but also to the benevolent aspects of Victorian Imperialism.  The memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband, and was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1872.  The sculpture of the Prince, which was made by John Foley, sits under an ornate and intricately decorated canopy.  The Prince is depicted reading a catalogue of the Great Exhibition of 1851, for which he was largely responsible.

Trinity Church Square, off Trinity Street
Thought to date from 1395, this is the oldest statue in London.  It was brought here from the old Palace of Westminster in 1822.

Queen Anne's Gate
Dating from the early 18th-century, this little statue was probably moved here from the Church of  St Mary-le-Strand.  The Queen is depicted in state robes.

Westminster Bridge
Thomas Thornycroft made this statue of Queen Boadicea, or Boudicca, in 1902.  She is depicted in her war chariot, accompanied by her daughters, and appears to be defiantly waving her spear at the Houses of Parliament.

Parliament Square
This 19th-century statue by Sir Richard Westmacott is chiefly notable for the fact that while it was still in the sculptor's studio it fell over and killed a man.

Trafalgar Square
Cast in bronze in 1633, this statue was to have been melted down during the Commonwealth, but was hidden and re-erected in 1660.  It was moved to Mentmore in Buckinghamshire during World War II and was replaced in 1947 with a new sword.  The original sword is said to have been dislodged by a photographer in 1867 and stolen while a procession was in progress.

Parliament Square
This statue of the great statesman and war leader was unveiled in 1973 and depicts Churchill in a typically pugnacious attitude.

St Martin's Place
Irving is regarded as being one of the greatest actors who ever lived.  This statue was erected in 1910, and is the only one in London of an actor.