The Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square – March 2012
Author: Bob Handford
Trafalgar Square is geographically the centre of London where all road distances are measured from. The centerpiece of the square is Nelson’s Column, the famous naval commander.
On the four corners of the square were four plinths, the one on the north-western corner was left empty, the original intention was a statue of William IV but funds run out.
Roll forward 150 years and the authorities thought they’d do something about this empty plinth.
In 1999, responsibility for Trafalgar Square was transferred to the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority, and in the same year the RSA created the Fourth Plinth Project. Today its a rolling arts programme where each year a new exhibit is put up.
The event really got the public’s notice when in 2009 over 100 days in the summer 2,400 people got the chance to have a one hour slot on the plinth to perform their ‘art’. 32,000 people applied and sure enough 2,400 performed everything from inspiring to the bizarre. Today the plinth is more staid with set exhibits commissioned by the Mayor.
So this year, 2012 its the turn of the sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse. 4.1 metres tall, cast in bronze., (see picture below). The plinth has words to please the chattering classes and keep the great and the good smug about their initiative, “A child has been elevated to the status of historical hero, though there is not yet a history to commemorate -only a future to hope for”