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From The Archives: Workmen battle at Trafalgar to move Nelson


Pam Girton

From The Archives: Workmen battle at Trafalgar to move Nelson

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LORD HORATIO NELSON, who once described Barbados to his Nevis-born wife as “this detestable spot”, looked last night like he might finally “feel” moved.

It took a battle against Spanish and French armadas in October 1805 to do the Lord in – he was a casualty, but his Brits saved the day.

It’s taken 177 years for Barbadians to finally decide just where the lofty Lord should pose for posterity.

At 4 p.m. yesterday six men from the Ministry of Transport and Works began erecting scaffolding around the hero who had no real connection to Barbados, except that he had visited here once or twice.

At 4:30 the half dozen took hammers to the limestone glue that has bound the 19th Century British admiral to this command post in the City. A position he held since March 22, 1813.

Since then, many have tried to move the Lord. In 1876, Barbadians wanted to cast him away between the Public Buildings. In 1888 they wanted him shipped to Foundation Gardens; in 1891, they moved him – same place, same pedestal, but higher up on more blocks.

But it wasn’t until last night, November 17, 1990, that the long unmoved Nelson felt the first tremors of travel.

Across the street, two camera buffs who felt history might be made, furiously clicked shutters. Raymond Harper, 22, of Christ Church, and Steven Ashby, 19 of Bathsheba, had “heard the word”.

Nobody else even paused on the clearing streets to see what might happen to the pea-green man.

At 5 p.m., hammers were replaced by drills and the rat-a-tat of removal splintered stone until a floodlight was put up as darkness fell at 6 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., the plugs were pulled on the whole operation and the Lord was left standing – three sides of his pedestal chipped away about a foot deep beneath his boots.

At 7 a.m. today, Lord Nelson will be swung by crane to his new posting – horizontally – eight feet across, and that much closer to the Careenage waters he floated in and out of on but a few occasions.

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