The Duke of York Column
The £25,000 to build the statue was raised by subscription – each individual in the army was required to contribute a day’s pay. Inside the hollow column a spiral staircase leads to the viewing platform around the base of the statue. Originally open to the public, this means of ascent was closed following a spate of suicides in the 17th Century.
“This is Waterloo-place, surrounded by columned mansions… In front of the stairs is the Duke of York’s column, of which very little can be said, except that it is ninety-four feet high, and some years ago the jumping down from the top and being smashed on the broad stones at its base, was a fashionable mode of committing suicide. It’s a pity that none of the poor wretches ever thought of over throwing and jumping down with the statue of the Duke of York, for it stands ridiculously high, and the impression it makes on that bad eminence is by no means agreeable.”
Photograph by Kristian Buus.
Column height: 37.64m