Originally a Memorial to Queen Eleanor of Castile
Current Memorial erected 1863-1865
The Charing Cross monument is modelled on an early medieval commemorative cross erected by King Edward I for his queen, Eleanor of Castile (1246 - 1290). Twelve crosses marked the journey of her funeral cortege from Harby near Lincoln where she died, to this last stop before Westminster Abbey where she is buried.
A cross was built at every place where the procession rested overnight. The original cross, from which all distances from London were once measured, was probably at the top of Whitehall and was demolished in 1647.
In 1863 the new Charing Cross monument was built here as a meeting place for Charing Cross station. It was designed by E.M. Barry (The architect of the hotel behind) and carved by T. Barr. Barry also designed giant stone piers and railings to the forecourt which were removed in 1958 to widen the Strand.
Architects Terry Farrell & Company designed new piers and cast iron railings in 1989. All decorative details are based on Barry’s original design.