As we approach the bicentennary of Nelson's decisive victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (October 2005), it is timely that a history of the world's most imposing, central and celebrated naval monument should be published. Although Trafalgar Square, with its column and famous lions and fountains, provides an iconic image of London today, it was not until 1830 that the Square acquired its name, and later still, in 1843 - almost 40 years after his death - that Nelson's Column was erected. What was there before? Why was this particular site chosen to commemorate Nelson? The author, Jean Hood, traces the evolution of the Square, through the design and planning of the monument, Parliamentary squabbles and indecision, engineering debacle and overspend, through the rise of the buildings that surround it and the statues that decorate it, to the recent modernisation and pedestrianisation that was completed in 2003, which realises the original plan of access from the National Gallery. Illustrated with a wealth of maps and plans, engravings, artworks and photographs, in colour and in black and white, Jean's lively and fascinating text incorporates biographies of the architects, designers and prominent figures who created the Square that we recognise today, and explores themes such as national celebration, political protest and artistic controversy that have become as intrinsic to the character of the Square as the architecture itself. Thorough in research and description, rich in anecdote and visually appealing, this book is a beautiful souvenir to the millions of visitors who come to the Square every year as well as essential reading for anyone interested in the history and development of London.