Now You See Him…

Photo: Michael Graham Smith

… and Michael for one is delighted and has sent me photos of the wandering prodigal.

For anyone who doesn’t know the shenanigans, Greenwich’s ugliest statue disappeared some time ago, not long before Greenwich Inc, who had taken over much many of Greenwich’s once-great eateries and run them into the ground, went bust.

All kinds of rumours abounded over what had happened to the sculpture, most of which surrounded its ideal candidacy for being melted down to resemble that Henry Moore piece on Millbank and its projected value in metal form. If you missed it all, Greenwich Visitor covers it nicely in its Jan edition.

But then suddenly last Thursday, Jonathan at the Greenwich Society sent me this:

Photo: Jonathan Chandler

…and all the cards were back on the table.

In a very short time, he was right back where he’d been upsetting me for several years.

Photo: Jonathan Chandler

So what the hell’s been going on there, then..?

If he was taken away for cleaning/mending/whatever why were Greenwich Inc so bloomin’ cagey about it? They could have saved themselves a lot of aggro if they’d just given us a bit of proof of Nelson’s continuing existence. Perhaps a photo of him tied up in the workshop with a current edition of Greenwich Visitor tucked under his arm?

Everyone knows what I think of this particular bit of ‘art.’I am entirely neutral about the return of the ugliest interpretation of one of history’s sexiest men, but I am pleased that at least it doesn’t appear anything sinister went on with it.

What I am much gladder about is what’s going on in the background. See that scaffolding? It’s about bloomin’ time – there were cracks all over the venerable building paint peeling and buddlia growing out of the roof. I’ve been hearing very encouraging rumours about who might be moving in there. Fingers crossed my source is right but the main thing is that money is being spent on the old girl for the first time in ages. Too late for the little nautically-themed bar that was lost under Inc’s ownership, but perhaps in time to save the rest of the historic building.

And so, for people like Micheal who sent me this, who like the statue, I leave you with another image of the returned hero. As he says – all kinds of rumours circulated but “What the Hell! Let’s rejoice at its reinstatement – welcome back Horatio!”

Photo: Michael Graham Smith

For the rest of us I leave you with the image of that scaffolding and a ray of hope for the Trafalgar itself.


the attachments to this post:

Photo: Michael Graham Smith
Nelson reinstated Michael

Photo: Jonathan Chandler
Admiral[2 low]

Photo: Jonathan Chandler
Admiral arriving low

Photo: Michael Graham Smith
Nelson reinstated Michael 1


6 Comments to “Now You See Him…”

  1. EssKay says:

    Good to see the old boy back – cheap, poorly executed public art is better than none at all..

    On a different note, does anyone know how/why the Trafalgar is permitted to lay out tables and seating on the riverside walk (rather than just the little area outside which they presumably own)?

    I’m all for “activating” the riverside (or whatever the appropriate planning speak is), but negotiating that particular obstacle course on a summer’s evening is one of the less pleasant aspects of my walk home

  2. Louise says:

    I’m glad he’s back! Looking dapper, Nelson (although still quite short).

  3. Mary says:

    I could go on for days and days and days about those tables and chairs outside the pub.
    The road – the actual road – is a public highway and owned by the Council. Inc has planning consent to put tables and chairs outside. I suppose the much criticised ‘pavement tax’ might mean Inc can be charged for doing that – but I don’t really what the current situation is. I tried some years ago to find out what, if anything could be done – since this is publicly owned space.
    Once you get up the steps and onto the riverside ‘five foot walk’ that is owned by the Greenwich Foundation – the body which owns the Royal Hospital site (the old Naval College bits) in Greenwich and leases it to the University. I assume they have given Inc permission to put the seating there. It should be possible to ask the Foundation what the current situation is.
    The other answer is that I don’t think they own any of the outside space they are using

  4. Andy says:

    Now Nelson has miraculously been returned how about some decent nosh making a reappearance too! ;)

  5. Chris says:

    Thanks for the info Phantom.
    I will warn my father-in-law who went to see him the winter before last and slipped arras over elbow on the ice and bust his kneecap!!
    Come to think of it, it was shortly after that Nelson was damaged….Dave, you naughty boy!!

  6. EssKay says:

    Thanks Mary – it’s the use of the Riverside walk that bothers me.

    It sounds like typical Greenwich Hospital behaviour too. As long as there’s a few shekels in it for them, they don’t give a stuff about how appropriate local development/land use is.