The Mall

Orientation & Geography

Europe, United Kingdom, London

The Mall in central London is the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end, where it crosses Spring Gardens, which was where the Metropolitan Board of Works and, for a number of years, the London County Council were based. It is closed to traffic on Sundays and public holidays, and on ceremonial occasions. The surface of The Mall is coloured red which gives the effect of a giant red carpet leading up to Buckingham Palace. This colour was obtained using synthetic iron oxide pigment from The Deanshanger Oxide Works (Deanox), which was created using The Deanox Process devised by head chemist Ernest Lovell (b. London 1917). It was MP David Eccles' decision, as minister of works, to make the Mall red. The Queen Victoria Memorial is immediately before the gates of the Palace, whilst Admiralty Arch at the far end leads into the Trafalgar Square. St. James's Park is on the south side of the Mall, opposite Green Park and St. James's Palace, on the north. Running off the Mall at its eastern end is the Horse Guards Parade, where the ceremony of Trooping the Colour occurs. The Mall was created as a ceremonial route in the early 20th century, matching the creation of similar ceremonial routes in other cities, such as Berlin, Mexico City, Oslo, Paris, St. Petersburg, Vienna and Washington D.C. These routes were intended to be used for major national ceremonies in the era of the nation state. As part of the development (designed by Sir Aston Webb), a new façade was constructed for Buckingham Palace, and the Victoria Memorial was erected. Also, it is an urban myth that in the event of an emergency or catastrophic event that might endanger the monarch and senior members of the government, the Mall can quickly be converted into a make-shift runway. On VE Day—8 May 1945—the palace was the centre of British celebrations, with the King, Queen and the Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen, and Princess Margaret appearing on the balcony, with the palace's blacked-out windows behind them, to the cheers from a vast crowd in the Mall. During state visits to the United Kingdom, the monarch and the visiting head of state are escorted in a state carriage up the Mall and the street is decorated with Union Flags and the flags of the visiting head of state's country. During the Golden Jubilee ceremonies of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, over one million people packed the Mall to watch the public displays and the appearance of the British Royal Family on the palace balcony.