Residents of Wellington are being encouraged to turn out on the streets to support the Town Council in commemorating the 200th anniversary of the only visit ever made to Wellington town by the original Duke of Wellington.
It is a little-known story how Arthur Wellesley came to take his title of ‘Wellington’, and even less well-known is the fact he only ever set foot in the town once.
It happened on September 28, 1819, four years after his famous victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
Now, the town council has invited the current Duke of Wellington, Charles Wellesley, to formally visit to celebrate the anniversary.
He will arrive at 12 noon on Monday, September 23, and will be greeted in the town centre by the Mayor of Wellington, Cllr Janet Lloyd, and local VIPs.
The Duke will be accompanied by local MP Rebecca Pow, who has championed fund-raising for the restoration of the Monument, which was built to commemorate the 1815 victory.
Cllr Lloyd said: “We are putting up a marquee outside the old Post Office and I hope that as many local people as possible can come along and join us in welcoming the Duke to our town. We’d like to recreate the atmosphere of the visit 200 years ago of a national hero which so thrilled the community at the time.”
“Afterwards, we will be going to the Wellington Monument where the National Trust will give the Duke a VIP tour of the site and their restoration plans, and the public will be most welcome to come and join us there as well.”
The visit was the idea of Wellington Museum curator Colin Spackman, one of the few who knew about the upcoming anniversary and who tipped off town councillors.
Before going to the Monument, the Duke will walk to the museum where Mr Spackman will present him with a copy of the Taunton Courier local newspaper which reported on the 1819 occasion.