Monday, 27 September 2010

Nelson’s Forgotten Memorials (NU165028 & NU174029)

Yes, plural. For there are two of them, within yards of each other, in fact, just off the A1 near Swarland in Northumberland. But they take some finding, though.

Swarland Hall is one of the county’s lost houses, having been demolished in 1947. At the time of Lord Nelson’s pomp it was owned by one Alexander Davison, businessman and close personal friend of our great national hero – as well as being his agent for a short period. After the famous British victory at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Davison redesigned his park at Swarland to reflect, in shape, that of the scene of the battle (Aboukir Bay), and planted it with trees to represent the British fleet in battle order. Not much of this creation remains today, but it is (very) faintly discernable on Google Earth.

Also, after the Battle of Trafalgar (and Nelson’s death), Davison erected a dwarf obelisk beside the old A1 (the modern road runs a little to the east) in honour of his friend. Now known as the Nelson Memorial, it is largely hidden behind a curtain of trees just off the old trunk road, though still accessible to the determined tourist.

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