The Nelson Monument, Portsdown Hill
The Nelson Monument, 120 feet (37 m) tall on a granite base, stands on Portsdown Hill about 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Portsmouth Harbour on the south coast of England. It was the eventual outcome of a movement started during Horatio Nelson's lifetime to “perpetuate the glorious victories of the British Navy.” By 1799 Nelson's prize agent Alexander Davison was able to use the Nelson name to spearhead a campaign, to honour “Britain’s naval glory and pre-eminence”. It was, however, Nelson’s death at Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, that galvanized the campaign.
A design for the monument by John Thomas Groves of the Board of Works was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807, and letters were written to The Times asking where the money Davison had raised had gone, but the £4050 he raised was never recovered. The final (and successful) attempt was paid for by the Navy itself. This time the fund’s driving force, Captain Thomas Freemantle, adopted a more altruistic approach, and the monument commenced construction on 4 July 1807 with the final checks to the inscription made just over a year later.
Today it is within the boundaries of Fareham Borough Council. The nearby Fort Nelson, Portsmouth, completed in 1871 as another Napoleon threatened England's South Coast, is so named because of its proximity to the monument.
- Pocock,T., Horatio Nelson (London, Brockhampton) 1987 ISBN 1-86019-908-9
- Howarth, D. and S. Howarth, Nelson: The Immortal Memory (Uxbridge: Corgi) 2004 ISBN 0-552-15085-1
- The Alexander Davison Collection, Sotheby's, October 21, 2002 Letter to Nelson to inform him of a Committee formed by The Duke of Clarence, The Prime Minister and others to examine proposals for a national monument.
- Padfield, P., Nelson’s War (Ware: Wordsworth) 1976 ISBN 1-84022-225-5
- Colvin, Howard, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840, (Yale University Press) 3rd ed. 1995, s.v. "John Thomas Groves".
- The matter was eventually brought before Parliament (The Times, Wednesday, April 26, 1809; pg. 2; Issue 7656; col B "Houses Of Commons"; Tuesday, April 25. "Abuse Of Patronage".
- Downer, M., Nelson’s Purse: The mystery of Lord Nelson’s Lost Treasures (Uxbridge, Corgi) 2004 ISBN 0-552-15085-1
- Naval subscriptions
- Smith, J., The Nelson Monument Portsdown Hill: a seamark re-discovered (Portsmouth, The Nelson Society) 2007 ISBN 978-0-9537200-6-4
- Smith, J., The story of Nelson’s Portsmouth (Tiverton,:Halsgrove) 2005 ISBN 1-84114-476-2
- Details of inscription
- Local Council Details
- Reason for name