Water Features within Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is located in central London in England. Today it is a tourist destination that was built around the area known as Charing Cross. At the center of this square is Nelson’s Column, a statue that honors Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This statue is guarded by four sculpted lion statues at the base. The square was made to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, which was a British victory over France during the Napoleonic War. Today, this square is filled with statuary, fountains, and works of contemporary art. 

The square was commissioned by George IV to be redeveloped by John Nash. He then cleared the square as a part of his Charing Cross Improvement Scheme. The square is owned by the Queen in right of the Crown, and managed by the Greater London Authority. The square was redeveloped again in 2003, which included adding a wide set of steps which led to the terrace of the National Gallery, including two lifts for the disabled. Public toilets were added, as well as a small café. 

Besides the many statues and plinths that decorate the square, there are a number of beautiful fountains as well. The interesting thing about these water features was they were not necessarily designed for an aesthetic purpose, but instead to merely take up space so there would not be space for riotous activities to occur. They received water, originally, from a well that had water pumped from it by a steam engine located behind the National Gallery. 

In the 1930’s the old features were removed and new were built, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and cost almost 50,000 Euros. The Canadian Government actually bought the old water fountains, and they are located in Ottawa and Regina. They became memorials to Lord Jellicoe and Lord Beatty. In May of 2009 the pump systems were replaced with new pumps that allowed water to reach 80 feet into the air. An LED lighting system was also added during this restoration, which reduced lighting costs. This was done with the 2012 London Olympics in mind, incorporating may colors combinations. This new system has a much lower energy requirement and reduces the carbon footprint by 90%. 

Trafalgar Square is an iconic location. It has been features in many film and television productions. The first ever  world movie premiere, which was the final Harry Potter film, was held in Trafalgar Square since construction was being done on Leicester Square, with a giant red carpet linking the two squares. It has hosted the Tour de France opening ceremonies, as well as was the site for the announcement for London’s bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics. It is home to wonderful New Year’s celebrations and well as Christmas ceremonies. Even with the addition of the fountains, there have also been numerous political demonstrations that have taken place over the years, as well as a site for watching sporting events, like the 2002 World Cup, which was broadcasted on giant screens erected just for this occasion.