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Monday, December 7, 1998 Published at 13:19 GMT


Trafalgar rivals square up

The plinth has stood empty since Trafalgar Square was built

After standing empty for more than 100 years the topless plinth in Trafalgar Square has come a step closer to completion.

The BBC's Keith Phillips reports on a 100-year-old controversy
Three designs have been submitted to adorn the unfinished platform and become the square's final monument 150 years after it was first laid out.

The sculptures include a Christ-like figure, a bronze statue incorporating a head, a tree and a book and, in a more modern vein, an upturned replica of the plinth itself designed by sculptor Rachel Whiteread.

The winning design will be chosen later in the week by Westminster council's planning committee.

[ image: Upturned plinth: Rachel Whiteread's design is the most modern]
Upturned plinth: Rachel Whiteread's design is the most modern
But visitors to the square, one of London's most popular tourist destinations, had other suggestions for the site.

One thought that a tribute to South African President Nelson Mandela would be most appropriate.

He said: "He's done so much for South Africa and peace and could be a lesson to us all."

Another thought something that reflected the 1990s would be more suitable, while another wanted a tribute to the Falklands War.

The statue, to the north-east of Nelson's Column, will join others of George IV riding a horse, 19th century general, Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock, who distinguished himself in the Indian mutiny of 1857.

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