Marble Arch starts restoration works

View of an old arch monument in a square with people.
The arch has an interior space which English Heritage wants to start reusing (Image: Marcorubino via

English Heritage has started extensive conservation works on London’s historic landmark Marble Arch.

The monument has been deteriorating in recent decades. English Heritage said that the main damage has been caused by water, which can create cracks by freezing and thawing. It also corrodes the arch’s bronze elements.

Older cleaning methods have made the marble more porous and prone to staining which makes maintenance, such as cleaning graffiti, more difficult without causing further damage. Traffic pollution negatively effects the marble as acids found in polluted air react with the calcite in the stone and cause gradual erosion.

What will be restored?

The project includes restoring the arch’s marble masonry, sculptures, metalwork and roof. Conservators will also be pointing and replacing any missing or lost parts with new marble.

Damaging invasive plants will be removed and poor historical repair work will be rectified. The whole surface of the monument will be cleaned with corrosion treatment. The roof and statues will undergo repair work.

The works will be funded by the £1.25m that rental stays company Airbnb has donated to the conservation of historic sites in English Heritage’s care. Money will also come from advertising revenue generated through the protective sleeve that surrounds the monument.

Plans for the arch’s little known interior

Marble Arch was built in 1833 taking inspiration from Palladian architecture, a style derived from the work of the 16th century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio.

It is Britain’s first building to be entirely clad in marble and it was intended to be a memorial to the country’s victories in the Napoleonic Wars, as well as the ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace. It has an interior that police once used to congregate during protests. English Heritage said that it will be announcing plans "in due course" to update this currently unused space.

The arch was relocated to its current location in the north east entrance of Hyde Park in 1851 to make space for the growing Buckingham Palace and to provide a grand entrance to the park.

Completion of the works are expected towards the end of 2024.

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