Shock, horror and outrage reign among England's traditionalists! The unthinkable is about to happen - and with the open connivance of London's Mayor!

The historic landmark of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square - erected in 1843 to celebrate Admiral Lord Nelson's famous naval victory against the French - will from next month carry advertising for the first time.

And to rub salt into an open wound, the advertiser concerned is not even British - but Zurich Financial Services, headquartered in the Swiss city of that name.

Not even mobilization of her Majesty's Household Cavalry, lances a-tilt, can now save London from a fait accompli hatched by Mayor 'Red Ken' Livingstone in cahoots with Zurich and its French-owned agency Publicis Dialog.

But, lest enraged patriots of Albion take to the barricades in protest, WAMN stresses that this is but a temporary affront while three sides of Lord Nelson and his 62-metre, grade-1-listed column are shrouded in scaffolding and protective covering during restoration work.

One side will remain open for access purposes, whilst the other three display images of environmental disaster emphasizing the need for Zurich's insurance services. Each image will carry the strapline 'Because Change Happenz'.

Says Mayor Livingstone: "Three very striking images have been produced to cover Nelson's Column. They are designed to dramatise the environmental impact on a globally recognised monument and I hope to encourage debate about its potential cause."

Word is that Zurich outbid a number of other hopefuls for the temporary billboard - among them Adidas - in a deal brokered by Viacom Outdoor.

Although Queen Victoria would not have been amused, it is likely that Lord Nelson himself would have turned a blind eye to such goings-on.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff, 28 April 2006