Lord Byron’s statue is in the middle of an inaccessible traffic island… I’ve often peered at it from one of the numerous buses that ply up and down Park Lane.
As the seasons turned to spring I took a snap decision courage to pay Byron. It was already getting dark and that heightened the sense of danger that came during this daring attempt to visit the poet.
Closed! Shut! A visit to Lord Byron’s simply out of order…
Actually there used to be a subway straight from the nether regions of Apsley House directly to Byron’s marble abode, but it’s been closed for at least two decades.
What results is an almost total solitary confinement. Clearly Lord Byron must be one of the least visited of London’s statues…
All the local statues can be found on this map – except one…
Not one sign in the locality indicates Byron’s existence…. clearly no-one’s going to encourage dangerous cults of any sort, not even tag the traffic.
It felt like a covert mission of some sort as I made my way across the traffic islands…
Coming eye to eye with Byron himself involves risk to life trying to find a gap across some of London’s busiest roads. If the traffic is not solid & slow it certainly moves fast. Mind those two wheelers!
Walking along the narrow gap between the traffic and that horrid Park Lane pedestrian control barrier!
At last! Lord Byron within sight. The closed subway’s on the left. Apsley House can be seen.
When I reached his solitary abode, it was clear to me that despite being propped up by 57 tons of colourful Greek marble, Lord Byron was totally bored. Just so damn fucking bored. Not a Rodin sort of thinking pose, but really really bored.
(Auguste Rodin had too wanted to make a statue of Byron but apparently lost the competition becos his own submission was just too boring!)
Being stuck in the middle of a nowhere island wasnt of much help. Byron’s dog, looking up at him, didnt seem to do much to alleviate the extent of his boredom.
The worst adjunct one could possibly have in London. Poor Byron!
Was Byron thinking to himself, “yeah I know I criticised Paddington for its artificial adjuncts, but this place is a damn sight worse! Frigging cars and their adjuncts – and right in the middle of it too!”
As a matter of interest the statue commemorates Bryon’s very own prose on isolation: “To sit on rocks to muse o’er flood and fell, To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene, This is not solitude.”
Such ironic words…. Byron’s current deposition is a damn sight far worse than solitude!
I began to feel my audience with Byron was un-mutual. Well I was the only one there – obviously nobody dare attempt to see this guy! Burdened with an overwhelming sense of being un-mutual, I left in order to regain the encumbrance of being a normal citizen.
I turned round a few more times to look at the poor guy, not in the slightest envious of the sad fate that had befell him.
Critically aware of my own potential fate, I dashed like mad across four lanes of major road between a 36 bus and a solitary taxi towards the relative safety of the Hilton Hotel pavement.
A 36 bus about to pull out, a taxi in the distance with loads more traffic behind it. Gotta dash!
Before the huge £3 million sixties reconstruction project to contain and isolate Lord Byron, he could be easily accessed by way of the lush parkland that had previously existed. The guy who sculpted Lord Byron was Richard Claude Belt (1852-1920)