Before the Wellington Arch was moved to it’s present location it was topped by a controversial statue of The Duke of Wellington. When the arch was dismantled and relocated the statue was taken down and replaced by the Quadriga that now tops the arch. This left the question of what to do with the statue of Wellington.
In 1883 the arch was dismantled and reconstructed on its present site. The Wellington statue was taken down in the process, and the question of what to do with it arose again.
No one seems to have wanted it back on the arch, and a strongly worded memorandum from the president and academicans of the Royal Academy urged the government to relieve London of ‘a blot which has long been a source of annoyance to Englishmen and of derision to foreigners’.
A committee chaired by the Prince of Wales was formed to consider the beautification of the newly formed place. It cast around for another site for the giant statue, but not finding one that met with approval proposed to melt it down. At this point the army spoke up; much of the money subscribed for the statue had come from officers, and they wanted it if no one else did. So, in 1885, the statue was unveiled on a new site near the garrison church at Aldershot by the Prince of Wales, where it remains.The committee commissioned Sir Joseph Boehm to make a new equestrian stature of the Duke of Wellington, and in 1888 the very fine monument which stands opposite Apsley House was unveiled.*
* From the English Heritage guide book to The Wellington Arch and the Marble Arch.