Lord Hill's Column

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Coordinates: 52°42′15″N 2°43′54″W / 52.7041°N 2.7318°W / 52.7041; -2.7318

The Column from the Shirehall

Lord Hill's Column, outside the Shirehall (Shropshire Council's headquarters), is one of the most notable landmarks of the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The tallest Doric column in England,[1] standing at 133 ft 6 in (40.7 m), it commemorates Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill, with a 17 ft (5.2 m) tall statue standing on the top of the column - the column is shorter than the 44.5m 'Monument to British Liberty' at Gibside, but the overall height of the column and statue is higher in total.[2] The column was built between 1814 and 1816; its diameter is 2 ft (0.6 m) wider than Nelson's Column, and, not including the pedestal, is 15 ft (4.6 m) higher.[3]

The architect was Edward Haycock Snr, with modifications mainly to the pedestal by Thomas Harrison. The pedestal is square with a pier of buttress at each angle, on which are placed recumbent lions, worked of Grinshill stone (the same as the column) by John Carline of Shrewsbury. The statue of Lord Hill was modelled in Lithodipyra (Coade stone) by Joseph Panzetta who worked for Eleanor Coade.[4]

The first stone was laid on 27 December 1814 by the Salopian Lodge of Free Masons assisted by deputies from adjoining lodges, on the festival of St. John the Evangelist. The last stone was laid on 18 June 1816, the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The total expense was 5,972 pounds, 13 shillings and 2 pence[2] (appx. £202,831.48 at 2005 prices[5]).

Following his death in 1842, Lord Hill bequeathed five guineas per annum to the person in charge of the column, ten guineas per annum for lighting it and a further ten guineas per annum to "the person who has charge of such light".[6]

The structure once stood at the centre of the crossroads there, but the junction is now set aside from the column. The column also gives its name to a borough ward, which is simply "Column" ward. It is possible to climb within the column using steps to reach the top.[2]

The column has been listed by English Heritage as a Grade II* structure.[7]

As of May 2013, the Shropshire Council is seeking the best solution to falling debris from the statue caused by heavy winds. The statue has been cordoned off for passersby protection. It is a landmark and its preservation and restoration is said by some people to be of paramount importance.

The column is to be open to the public during the summer and autumn of 2015 as part of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. The Column will also be open in 2016 thanks to the Friends of Lord Hill`s Column

See also[edit]