One of the best things about living in London as a boy was the fact that the world was on show in this one city. I did not travel anywhere when I was young; I had parents who were not interested in holidays or other places. I dreamed of travel and read a lot (A LOT!) of books about far away places. So, I was always glad to discover glimpses of other countries and dream of the exotic by looking around London.
The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens is an example of the corners of London that reminded me there was a world out there. It has sculptures at each corner. Each one represents a continent and includes representative people and an animal. Africa has a camel, Asia has the elephant, America has the bison and Europe has the bull.
Prince Albert was a popular man at the time of this death at age 42 so the idea of a fitting memorial was one taken up in several places across the country. This one is significant because it is in Kensington where so many of his projects were realised. It is also near the site of the 1851 Great Exhibition which he did so much to promote.
Although George Gilbert Scott was the architect commissioned to realise the project, each of the corners had a different artist: the Asia group was designed by John Henry Foley; the Americas by John Bell; Europe by Patrick MacDowell and Africa by William Theed.
I love returning to this part of London. It is always worth spending time here discovering something new on each visit. the Albert Memorial is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?