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By David Rooney on

Trafalgar Square, Morecambe?

Last time, I related the sad story of the demise of HMS Trafalgar, who had her nuclear reactor shut down a few weeks ago prior to retirement.

In 1993, Trafalgar was affiliated with the north-west town of Lancaster, just across Morecambe Bay from Barrow-in-Furness where many naval submarines are built. Now the boat has been decommissioned, the affiliation has come to an end, and the tip of Morecambe’s Stone Jetty is to be renamed ‘Trafalgar Point’ in the boat’s honour.

Apparently, council officials had considered naming a plaza, rather than a jetty, but realised that there was already a rather more famous Trafalgar Square. This leads me neatly to some wonderfully atmospheric photos of the London landmark in the collection of the National Media Museum:

Trafalgar Square, c.1890 (NMeM / Science & Society)

London’s Trafalgar Square has been a traffic hot-spot for more than a century…

'Held Up, Trafalgar Square', 1923 (NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society)

…although the air quality has certainly improved since the early days.

Hansom cab in Trafalgar Square, c.1898 (NMeM / Royal Photographic Society / Science & Society)

Trafalgar Square is often at the heart of demonstrations, marches and rallies. One event, held in the square in Easter 1966, was captured in another of the NMeM’s photographs: a march by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

CND Easter March, Trafalgar Square, 1966 (NMeM / Tony Ray-Jones / Science & Society)

Fifteen years later, the nuclear-powered, nuclear-armed submarine Trafalgar was launched…

The photographic collections of the National Media Museum (part of the National Museum of Science and Industry) are truly remarkable. You can explore some of their holdings here if you can’t visit in person.