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Holiday Episode - American soil closest to the TV studio

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931647.  Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:47 pm Reply with quote

I watched this episode last night on iplayer and it prompted me to find this site - and very good it is too!

however the answer was incorrect - the closest american soil to the studio (as far as I am aware) is in Trafalgar Sq underneath the statue of George Washington, this was passed onto me by a tour guide as we were being shown historical facts around the capital, the following is an entry from a website (searched for "american soil in london")

The George Washington statue on the right is a Jean Antoine Houdon replica of a statue in the capitol building in Richmond, Virginia. A gift from that state, the statue arrived in London with boxes of earth for the base, so the first American president would always stand on American soil.



931659.  Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:52 pm Reply with quote

I can see this story repeated in a number of places, but I cannot find the origin for this claim, nor a formal version, so I wonder if it's a made up story passed through the ages?

The nearest I can find to an official discussion on the statue is from 1960:

931692.  Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:02 pm Reply with quote

if it is it's a popular one..!

excellent... like the link... even more smiles because of this excellent program...

931706.  Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:32 am Reply with quote

More here:,_The_National_Gallery

Lord John Hope wrote:
I think that on the whole it is probably better to leave Washington were he is. He is only a little way down the road from George III, who has, in fact, turned his back on him.

National Archives wrote:
We learn that a replica of Jean-Antoine Houdonís statue of George Washington was to be presented to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland by the Commonwealth of Virginia and that the King had approved of the statue being placed on the lawn in front of The National Gallery. This site appears to have been chosen by the Office of Works. The original statue stands in Richmond, Virginia. The replica was to be cast by the Gorham Company in New York.

The file follows progress. A pedestal was not included in the gift so a suitable one had to be made.

The war interrupted progress until 1920 when we learn from a letter from the National Gallery of 9th June, 1920 that they were unhappy with the choice of site and the file follows the arguments for and against the chosen site. The objections of the National Gallery were eventually overruled. The National Gallery also asked that an emphasis be given to the name Houdon rather than the subject or the donors but this request does not appear to have been granted.

The bronze replica arrived in England in April 1921 and was unveiled on 30th June 1921.

After unveiling a fissure was found in the statue and the file contains the correspondence which the repair of this fissure generated.

No mention of earth in the official files.

957187.  Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:57 pm Reply with quote

I have always thought that it was in fact true that the soil underneath the statue of George Washington is from America. I was told that by many people when I was staying at the Ravel Hotel New York, but now that you mention it, I have never in fact seen any scholarly evidence to back up this claim. Does anyone have any sources that prove the soil is from the United States?


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