Nelson’s Column

Restoration of Nelson’s Column

Nelson's Column is Grade 1 listed and is normally inspected every two years to assess the condition of the sculpture, the granite column and the bronze. Recent inspections had found that the column was in sound condition and cleaner than in the past, but recommended maintenance and conservation work to preserve the column’s condition for future generations.

The work included local repairs to the stonework; cleaning back of areas of corrosion and protection of bronze with wax; general cleaning to remove pigeon guano, and pigeon proofing of minor areas.

The restoration team was able to repair damage to the statue of Nelson using Craigleith sandstone, the original material used to make it. Since the closure of the Craigleith quarry in Scotland sixty years ago, getting hold of the stone has been virtually impossible and previous restorers had patched up Nelson using a mixture of mortar and cement. The Craigleith stone used to repair Nelson was salvaged during a restoration of Donaldson's School for the Deaf, an A-listed building in Edinburgh, and was donated to the Nelson’s Column restoration by Scottish company Watson Stonecraft.

The restoration project saw a unique partnership between the GLA and insurance company Zurich, which sponsored the restoration.