When Prince Albert died suddenly of typhoid in 1861, Queen Victoria very quickly decided that a memorial should be built to honour her late husband. She invited seven leading architects to submit designs for a monument to be built in Kensington Gardens. It was to be located just to the north of the museums area which Albert had helped to build up, and to the west of where the Great Exhibition had been held.
Designs for a Hall of Arts and Science were also requested. This was another project which Albert had discussed with Henry Cole. They had both hoped for a large hall to be built in the area which could accommodate science meetings, conferences, and music concerts. This project was later to come to light as the Royal Albert Hall.
Funds for the project came from public subscription, although only enough money was raised for the memorial. Early suggestions for the monument, which was initially known as the National Monument to HRH Prince Consort, included a monolithic obelisk. This was to be surrounded by statues, including an equestrian statue of Albert.
In December 1862 designs were submitted by:
The results of the competition were announced on 22 April 1863. George Gilbert Scott was the winner, with his ornate design for a canopy or tabernacle in the Gothic style, containing a seated statue of Albert. The 176 feet/53 metre tall memorial was opened in 1872 and continues to be major landmark for London.
View not only Scott's winning design for the memorial, but also to see some of the other competitors' entries in the competition and decide for yourself who should have been the winner.