England's answer to the Arc de Triomphe, the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, is to be restored by English Heritage for £1.5 million.
The Grade I monument was built to celebrate Wellington's victories over Napoleon but has been empty and unheated for 30 years. The neo-classical arch is now damp and shabby and water has seeped through the reinforced concrete roof to rust the steel beams.
The arch was built in 1828 with a Wellington statue, then rebuilt in 1888 after road widening, and topped with a bronze sculpted group, a 'Quadriga'. Before being abandoned, the arch housed a police station, and Decimus Burton's design is one of the most famous buildings on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register.
eh architects will oversee work including stone cleaning, iron restoration and repair of the original gas lamps near the arch. The 200m2 building, with five reception rooms on four floors, may be turned into an area to promote the Diana, Princess of Wales' Memorial Walk in Hyde Park and St James's Park. The Portland-stone design will be floodlit and is due to be finished in October 2000.
The dcms, which this April handed over responsibility for important London monuments to English Heritage, will fund the restoration.
Sir Jocelyn Stevens, eh chairman, said Wellington Arch was one of Britain's greatest classical monuments and one of London's finest landmarks.