Marble Arch glistens again after £75,000 restoration

In its long history, Marble Arch has suffered the indignity of being shifted away from Buckingham Palace, stuck in the middle of a roundabout and dumped on by pigeons.

In its long history, Marble Arch has suffered the indignity of being shifted away from Buckingham Palace, stuck in the middle of a roundabout and dumped on by pigeons.

But yesterday a restoration of the famous London landmark was unveiled with pomp, ceremony and a special bird-proofing system.

In a £75,000 project, which has cost almost as much as the original estimate, the arch has been restored to its former glistening glory.

Marble Arch, commissioned by George IV to commemorate Britain's victory over Napoleon, had fallen into a state of disrepair as pollution and grime took its toll.

Over the past three months, the monument has been cleaned and repaired by a team of experts employed by English Heritage.

Philip Davies, the director for the South at English Heritage, said: "Marble Arch is one of London's most famous and popular monuments and we are delighted to have restored it back to its original condition. A lot of missing detail has been repaired, reinstated and recarved and the spectacular bronze gates at the centre of the arch have been re-bronzed and repaired."

He explained that this conservation programme was just the first step in a strategy to improve important parts of the capital's heritage.

"It is vital that we continue to invest in them, which means lighting them to improve their night-time appearance," he said.

Marble Arch was designed by John Nash in 1828 and completed in 1832 to 1833. Made of white Carrara marble, the three archways with their Corinthian columns were largely inspired by the Constantine Arch in Rome.

It was a grand entrance to Buckingham Palace courtyard for 17 years until Queen Victoria demanded it be moved to create extra space for her household.

In 1851 it was moved to its current site at the entrance to Hyde Park - once the location of the Tyburn gallows - and crowds flocked past on their way to the Great Exhibition that year.

At one point it was put to municipal use as one of London's smallest police stations until a replacement was built near by in 1902.

The restorers have now cleaned up the marble and repaired or carefully recarved it to reveal the intricacies of the arch.

The bronze centre gates and the lanterns that illuminate the monument have been repaired, while the metalwork of the side gates has also been repainted and glossed.

Conservationists have installed a bird-proofing system - a series of small spikes which protect the monument from London's feathered population.

An English Heritage spokeswoman explained: "We were trying to keep the pigeons at bay. They were one of the main things we were trying to tackle."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project