London, UK - Buckingham Palace Merman; Dunstable, MA - Woodward’s Mill Pond

Buckingham Palace Mermaid.jpg

Title

London, UK - Buckingham Palace Merman; Dunstable, MA - Woodward’s Mill Pond

Catalog Entry

This Buckingham Palace Merman is located at the end of The Mall in London, which was designed and built by the sculptor Thomas Bock. This is also called the Victoria Memorial that is a monument to Queen Victoria. The whole sculptural programme has a nautical theme, much like the rest of The Mall (Admiralty arch). This can be seen in the mermaids and mermen, both of which are suggestive of the United Kingdom’s naval power.

King Edward VII suggested that a joint Parliamentary committee should be formed to develop plans for a memorial to Queen Victoria following her death. The first meeting took place on 19 February 1901 at the Foreign Office, Whitehall. The first secretary of the committee was Arthur Biggie, 1st Baron Stamfordham. Initially theses meetings were behind closed doors, and the proceedings were not revealed to the public. However, the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Joseph Dimsdale, publicly announced that the committee had decided that the Memorial should be “monumental.” Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, the secretary of the committee, submitted the proposal to the king on 4 March 1901. A number of sites were suggested, and the King visited both Westminster Abbey and the park near the Palace of Westminster. Several ideas were rumoured at the times, including an open square in The Mall near to the Duke of York Column and a memorial located in Green Park. On 26 March the decision was announced to locate the memorial outside Buckingham Palace and slightly shorten The Mall.

The Merman represents the United Kingdom's Naval power. During Queen Victoria’s reign their navy was the most powerful in the world. Poseidon in Greek religion is the god of the sea, water in general. The name Poseidon means either “husband of the earth” or “lord of the earth.” His weapon and main symbol was the trident, perhaps once a fish spear. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, the Poseidon trident, like Zeus’s thunderbolt and Hades helmet, was fashioned by the three Cyclopes. In the Odyssey, Poseidon dislikes Odysseus, and he uses his power to misdirect his ship.

This is why a local historical site that can be connected to the Buckingham Palace Merman is Woodward’s Mill Pond, Dunstable, MA. This pond was named after one of the original families in Dunstable, England. Thomas and John Woodward fought in the French and Indian War. Benjamin and Jonathan Woodward fought in the Revolutionary War under Captain Oliver Cummings who led the Dunstable.

This shows a connection to Poseidon when he leads Odysseus astray because he used the ocean to combat Odysseus' ship. For the navy they used their power to attack enemy ships them. These landmarks attract people to visit and enjoy the sites.

Bibliography

Dunstable, MA Town of. Town of Dunstable, MA - Woodward’s Mill Pond, www.dunstable-ma.gov/Pages/DunstableMA_WebDocs/localdocs/mill.

“Victoria Memorial, London.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Memorial,_London.

Elaine. “Of Mermaids and Mermen.” The Early Modern World, 1 Jan. 1970, earlymodernwomen.blogspot.com/2011/11/of-mermaids-and-mermen.html.

Catalog Entry Author(s)

Marie Vante, Student, Fitchburg State University

Research Assistant(s)

Carolina Amaya, Student, Fitchburg State University
Gabriana Dickerson, Student, Fitchburg State University

Photographer(s)

Kisha G. Tracy

Citation

“London, UK - Buckingham Palace Merman; Dunstable, MA - Woodward’s Mill Pond,” Cultural Heritage through Image, accessed November 25, 2020, https://culturalheritagethroughimage.omeka.net/items/show/42.

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