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Parliament Square was laid out in 1868 by Sir Charles Barry and is famed as the site of London’s first traffic signals. Still a busy traffic island, its sculptures are an interesting - if risky to reach - tour through parliamentary history.

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Big Ben

Big Ben, officially the Great Bell of Westminster, is the name of the largest of the bells in the Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster - the Houses of Parliament. Its distinctive note is due to a crack. The Great Clock of Westminster is the World's largest four-faced chiming clock and was 150 years old in 2009.

Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill (1874-1965) was Prime Minister during WWII. This 12-foot bronze by Ivor Roberts-Jones shows him wearing a Navy overcoat. HIs 88-year-old widow Lady Clementine unveiled it in 1973, with the help of the Queen. A mild electric current stops pigeons perching or snow forming on Churchill’s bald head.

Field Marshal Smuts

South Africa’s Jan Christian Smuts was sculpted by Jacob Epstein in 1956. Smuts was the only person to sign the peace settlements after both the First and Second World Wars. He fought against the British in the Boer War but was a firm ally during both world wars and helped found the RAF in 1918 and the United Nations.

David Lloyd George

Welsh MP Lloyd George was prime minister from 1916 to 1922, playing a large part in victory in World War I and the Versailles peace treaty. As chancellor of the exchequer, he helped introduce old age pensions, and state benefits for the ill and unemployed. This 2007 statue of the only Welsh Prime Minister is by Prof Glynn Williams.

Oliver Cromwell

Hamo Thornycroft’s work of  1899 shows Cromwell ‘warts and all’ and is famous for having its spurs on upside down. Wearing his Ironsides cavalry uniform, one hand is on his sword, the other holds a Bible of 1641. A leading light in the Civil War in 1640, Cromwell was made Lord Protector after the beheading of King Charles I.

Richard The Lionheart

King Richard I spent most of his reign away Crusading but was still popular at home. This statue by Carlo Marocchetti was first cast in clay for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a bronze copy made in 1860 by public subscription. The sword (now repaired) was bent by a WWII bomb. Marocchetti’s statue of Robert Stephenson is at Euston Station.

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