Albert Memorial

Philip Charles Hardwick

Competition design for the Albert Memorial by Philip Charles Hardwick

Architect: Philip Charles Hardwick (1822-1892)
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings & Archives Collections

Philip Charles Hardwick was one of the lucky seven to enter the exclusive competition for the Prince Consort Memorial and ultimately his design won second place. His vision was for an extremely large monument, incorporating a golden statue of Prince Albert at the top of an elaborate staircase, surrounded by ornate fountains and gardens.

This watercolour perspective shows the scheme in its entirety. The view is taken from an imaginary building, and it is particularly useful as it places the memorial in the context of Hyde Park and the surrounding London landscape.

The RIBA Drawings and Archives Collections holds two other watercolours of Hardwick's design. Both are closer up views of the monument, including a detail of the statue of Prince Albert on top of the grandiose central staircase.

Hardwick came from a family of architects. His farther was Philip Hardwick, architect of the Euston Arch, the Neo-Classical gateway to Euston Station which was notoriously pulled down in the 1960s.

Why Hardwick's design wasn’t chosen

Hardwick's memorial design also owes something to Neo-Classical architecture, adopting a very Germanic style possibly in recognition of Prince Albert's nationality. His scheme did not however include any obvious references to Prince Albert's interests and ideals, or his contributions to the area. The winning design by Scott did achieve this, and perhaps this is why Hardwick finished as runner up to Scott.