Apsley House, London
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OUT & ABOUT HOME   |   London's Royal Palaces & Attractions.

Apsley House. London's Royal Palaces & Attractions
with Burlington Bertie

Apsley House
Apsley House. Photo courtesy of English Heritage.

Venue: 149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7NT. Tel: 020 7222 1234.
Access: 1 April-31 Oct, 10am-5pm. Tues thru Sun; 1 Nov-31 March, 10am-4pm. Tues thru Sun; Bank Holidays 10am-5pm. 2007.
Tickets: 5.10 (Concessions), Purchase at door.
London Transport: Nearest Tube. Hyde Park Corner.

Apsley House was the London home of the Duke of Wellington, Napoleon's victor at Waterloo. The Iron Duke had Benjamin Wyatt, (1775-c.1850), alter and extend the original 1778 building by Robert Adam which once adjoined the row of fine houses lining the Green Park end of Piccadilly. They were demolished in the 1960s to allow a new entrance to Park Lane. Now an English Heritage museum, it stands in solitary neo-classical splendour; its Corinthian columned portico facing Hyde Park Corner's green carrousel planted with spring crocus and daffodil, wherein stand the Wellington Arch, World War I monuments to the Royal Artillery and Machine Gun Corps, and Boehm's equestrian statue of the Duke himself.

Burlington Bertie's Verdict:
While Wyatt kept many of the Adam interiors, the exterior is purely Wyatt and bears comparison with his Lancaster House, completed 1839 just two years prior to his imprisonment for debt incurred from high living. Highlight of the interior is Wyatt's suitably magnificent Waterloo Gallery, where the Iron Duke held banquets each year to celebrate the anniversary of the great battle. The room and entire first floor are filled with silver and fine art donated by grateful monarchs who owed their thrones to the Duke's victory over Napoleon. Canova's colossal nude marble statue of the Emperor, bought from the Louvre and presented to the Duke, stands at the head of the Adam stairway.

A visit to Hyde Park Corner and this museum is a part of the Royal London Experience. The museum is devoted to the life of the "Saviour of Europe". He later became Constable of the Tower of London, Prime Minister under George IV and William IV, fought a duel with Lord Winchilsea in 1829, (pistols at dawn in what is now Battersea Park), and on his death in 1852 was given the greatest State Funeral London had ever witnessed, or is likely to witness again. Museum artifacts include the Duke's important collection of fine art, silver and porcelain as well as military memorabilia of the man who towered over London life throughout the first half of the 19th century. Spend additional time to visit the Wellington Arch museum opposite and enjoy the fantastic views over London from the top. English Heritage offer a joint entrance ticket for 6.30.

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