Tuesday 10 June 2003 4.50pm
Oh not this old chestnut - obviously honky donky is a troll looking to identify Blimpish reactionaries. Well on this, I'm happy to oblige.
Paris remains full of streets and Places named for military victories. Not to mention the Gare d'Austerlitz !?
Some years ago, conservative French politician Florent Longuepee (can't do acute accents here) - a member of President Jacques Chirac's RPR party - wrote to Tony Blair to do something about it and went on to threaten that if Waterloo Station
was not renamed, he would fight to have Paris' Gare du Nord Station renamed "Fontenoy," after a 1745 French victory over the British.
The papers had a field day on this at the time, publishing the outcome of a survey that showed that the majority of French students thought that the battle (of Waterloo) was actually won by Napoleon. A military gentleman wrote to the Telegraph about his visit to the souvenir shop at the Mont du Lion, next to the old battlefield in Belgium. Seeing the walls covered with every imaginable kind on Napoleonic memorabilia, he asked Mme le proprietaire if they had anything about Wellington.
"QUI" replied Madame, "qui est Wellington?"
The Times suggested that if the French station must be renamed after a French victory, a better choice would be the battle in 1066 where the French Duke William of Normandy defeated the English King Harold and conquered all of England. But do you think the French are quite ready to have a station named "Hastings?"
Don't forget - Wednesday18th June is Waterloo Day.
By custom, Apsley House, the London Palace of the first Duke of Wellington is open for free for the day (usually £4.50) I think that English Heritage will also be opening the nearby Wellington Arch for free as well.
Tube: Hyde Park Corner
Buses: 2,8,9,10,14,16,19,22,36,38, 52,73,74,82 and 137 stop nearby
HYDE PARK CORNER
LONDON W1J 7NT
020 7499 5676
Open 11.00-17.00 Tues-Sun
Post edited (10 Jun 03 17:56)