Wellington Monument – A Majestic Obelisk with Rich and Proud History
Positioned on the Blackdown Hills, the Wellington Monument is a triangular obelisk which stands 175 ft. (53m) tall. It is located in the south of Wellington in Somerset, an English county. The building is listed as Grade II and was built to commemorate the victory of the Duke of Wellington at an epic Battle of Waterloo.
Originally, a cheaper and repetitive design was used in the construction of the monument in 1817 and it was finished in 1854. In 2007, the monument was closed by the National Trust due to safety reasons. According to the surveys, a lot of renovation works are needed to be done so inner staircase can be opened to lead the visitors to viewing platform. The work is still going since 2015.
A kind of sandstone all the way from Northay, Calcareous Grit is used to build the monument. At the base, the triangular column is 80 ft. wide and 175 ft. high. It has Egyptian winged panel at the base over the studded door made of iron and covered by a dentil cornice. A counterweight is hanged in the top of monument so it can stay balanced when heavy winds are blowing. An internal staircase leads you to the three circular windows in the viewing platform.
To celebrate the victory of the first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, the monument was built. After the Battle of Talavera triumph, he was ennobled. His brother named the town of Somerset after his brother due to the similarity to his family’s name, despite the fact that Wellesley had never been there.
He was awarded with £100,000 by the Parliament and he bought two manors using this, along with the land where monument is located. In 1815, William Sanford proposed themonument and started subscription in public to raise funds. He raised £1450 within months and held a design competition. In 1817, it was founded by Lord Somerville and designed by Thomas Lee. The column was 47 feet tall by 1818 but all funds had been invested. He raised another appeal for more funds and extended the column to 121 feet by 1820.
About National Trust
The National Trust acquired the monument in the 1930s. It installed new lights in 2015. On special events it is lit beautifully. The cannon at the base of the Monument, was donated by the Wellington Rotary Club in 1985.
The National Trust announced to invest £4 million to renovate the monument in June 2009. In 2010, they replaced the painted face with open wire fence for improved visibility but still restricted public access to the base. In a 2010 survey, there were noticeable cracks in the stonework. It was declared in 2013 that further funding would be required for the project. It is also planned to install the sensors to record what’s happening in the tower.
The new Taunton Deane’s Member of Parliament, Rebecca Pow requested the government to raise funds for restoration work in 2015. She further showed the poor condition and signed petition to repair it.