The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

A cabinet card showing a view of London's Trafalgar Square where it joins Whitehall. The foreground of the photograph is dominated by Le Sueur's equestrian statue of Charles I, looking down Whitehall towards his place of execution. Cast in 1633, Parliament ordered its destruction in 1849 following the English Civil War but it was hidden by the man charged with destroying it and resurfaced after the Restoration. In 1675 it was erected at the spot where the original Charing Cross once stood.

The photograph also shows a very clear view of Morley's Hotel, occupying the entire east side of the square. Opened by hotelier Atkinson Morley in 1832, a guidebook of 1850 described it as 'well-frequented' and 'good of its kind.' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed there in 1900 while he was writing The Hound of the Baskervilles and the fictional Northumberland Hotel of that book may well have been based on Morley's. He wrote to his mother in 1900 that he was 'somewhat sick' of Morley's and intended to try the Golden Cross Hotel instead. The hotel was demolished in 1936 and South Africa House now occupies the site.

Published as one of a series entitled 'York's Cabinet Views of London and Neighbourhood.'

Dated 30 October 1875 verso in a period hand.

Code: 126391
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