Monday, 12 January 2015

The Nelson Column, Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth sits on a spit of land, with the North Sea on the east and the river Yare on the west and south.  Towards the southern tip of the peninsular, amongst industrial units and workshops and parked cars stands the Nelson Column.  It is in the strictest Neo-classicism; erected in 1817 by the County of Norfolk to commemorated the county's most famous son, at 144 feet it is a foot shorter than the much more famous column erected to Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square.  It possesses an austere, masculine beauty, that is perhaps contrasted by the upper stage of graceful caryatids.  Looking again at the photos as I write this post I am struck by the funereal feel of the architecture; as though the steps in the lower picture lead not a spiral staircase but a burial chamber with a gleaming granite sarcophagus.  Having said that, everything about this structure is, as one would expect from  Neo-classicism, impeccable - from the lettering of the inscriptions down to the blue painted railings.  Superb.  It should be better known.  When built the column sat in the midst of open land - land owned by the Admiralty, so it was thought a fitting place.  In the summer it is open to the public.

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