Admiralty Arch serves as the entrance to The Mall, the road that leads to Buckingham Palace, from Trafalgar Square. It's just off to the southwest corner of Trafalgar Square and has three imposing arches.
Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, Queen Victoria. It was built in 1912 and is adjacent to the Old Admiralty Building, the government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. The central archway is reserved exclusively for the use of the royal family and the arch plays an important role on ceremonial occasions such as weddings, funerals, and celebratory processions.
While the building itself is an impressive structure, there is a particularly unusual feature to see. Head to the arch on the right (from Trafalgar Square), don't get in the way of the traffic and look across. What can you see? Read on to find out.
An Unusual Feature
If you can't spot the Arch's odd feature, look where the red arrow is pointing -- it's highlighting something that you really wouldn't expect to see. It's likely too small in this photo, so keep reading to see a close-up.
Origins of a London Nose
It's safe to bet that you weren't expecting that! There's a protrusion the size of a human nose about 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) up the wall. Initially, not too much was known about it, and many theories abounded -- it was said that it was for the mounted police to touch as they went through the arch (it was suggested that it is Napoleon's nose and they were 'rubbing his nose in it'). Others said it was the Duke of Wellington's nose (which was reputedly quite large) and touching the nose would bring good luck.
In 2011, Rick Buckley, the artist who put up this nose (and many others across London), confirmed to the Evening Standard that he did it back in 1997 as a response to all the CCTV being installed across town -- a response to the city's being "nosy", so to speak.
If you wish to look for the other noses put up around town, Peter Berthoud, a wonderful City of Westminster Guide, has devised a Seven Noses of Soho Walk which is highly recommended.