Discover London | The Mall
The Mall is a road in London running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. Before its termination at Whitehall it is met by 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 to give the effect of a giant red carpet leading up to Buckingham Palace. This colour was obtained using synthetic iron oxide pigment from Deanshanger Oxide Works (Deanox), which was created using the Deanox Process devised by chemist Ernest Lovell. It was 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 Trafalgar Square. The distance from the railings at the Palace to Admiralty Arch is approximately 1 km (0.62 mi). St. James’s Park is on the south side of The Mall, opposite Green Park and St James’s Palace, on the north side. Running off The Mall at its eastern end is Horse Guards Parade, where the Trooping the Colour ceremony is held.
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, Saint Petersburg, Vienna and Washington, D.C. These routes were intended to be used for major national ceremonies. As part of the development (designed by Aston Webb) a new façade was constructed for Buckingham Palace, and the Victoria Memorial was erected.
On VE Day—8 May 1945—the Palace was the centre of British celebrations, with the King, Queen and 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 on The Mall.
During state visits, 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 celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, over one million people packed The Mall to watch the public displays and the appearance of the Royal Family on the palace balcony. These scenes were repeated in 2011 for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and again in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, in which over 70,000 people watched the concert.
The London Marathon finishes on The Mall.