Skip to main content

Visting the Admiralty Arch, London, England: By Sir Aston Webb, 1910, the First Sea Lord's Former Official Residence

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
Flag of England

Flag of England

The grand, former official residence of the First Sea Lord

Very close to three London, England landmarks — Trafalgar Square, The Mall and Whitehall — is the imposing Admiralty Arch.

Dating from 1910, the work of Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) (1), it was originally commissioned by King Edward VII as a memorial to his mother, Queen Victoria, but by the year of its completion King Edward VII had, too, passed away. However, the Admiralty Arch did serve as a backdrop to the Coronation Procession of King George V, in 1911 (see photo, supplied, below).

Executed in stone, Admiralty Arch is actually a series of arches: three of which are large, central ones through which traffic may pass onto The Mall from Trafalgar Square; side arches allow pedestrian passage.

The structure's name bears record of its former association with the Admiralty; indeed, it was once the official residence of the First Sea Lord, which in the days of the Empire and before significant development of air power was an especially prestigious appointment. The building was thus once the official residence of First Sea Lord The Earl Mountbatten (1900-1979)(2).

I myself have a memory of approaching Admiralty Arch years ago, and seeing a parked vehicle close to the structure, observed the Foreign Secretary enter the vehicle.

In more recent years there have been plans to incorporate the building in a luxurious hotel.

December 18, 2020


(1) Other works by architect Sir Aston Webb include: the main frontage of Buckingham Palace, London; parts of the Victoria Memorial, London; the main building of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the French Protestant Church, Soho Square, London; he also designed Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland; Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; the Aston Webb Building at Birmingham University; and many others. While it may be seen that Sir Aston Webb designed various buildings with strong, Royal associations, it is also the case that his Government Buildings, Dublin, the seat of the Republic of Ireland's administration have been an elegant backdrop to a succession of Irish governments of a Fianna Fáil persuasion.

Scroll to Continue

(2) Born Prince Louis of Battenberg, Admiral of the Fleet The 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma served in many key roles; these included: Chief of Combined Operations in World War Two, the last Viceroy of India and India's first Governor-General, First Sea Lord (which gave him the official connection with Admiralty Arch), and Chief of the Defence Staff.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Also worth seeing

London has such huge numbers of visitor attractions that I will refer to only a small fraction of the principal ones; these include: Trafalgar Square; the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster; Westminster Abbey (where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and where Prince William and Kate Middleton were married); St. Paul's Cathedral; the Royal Albert Hall; and so many others.


How to get there

United Airlines flies from New York Newark Airport to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. Underground and train services link Heathrow Airport with Central London. In the same building as the former Charing Cross Hotel are Charing Cross Railway and Underground (Bakerloo and Northern line) stations. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

Other of my hubpages may also be of interest

Related Articles