History explorer: the Napoleonic Wars

Huw Davies and Helen Carr visit Apsley House in central London, which has become a shrine to the Duke of Wellington's greatest triumphs...

View of the Waterloo Gallery at Apsley House, London. (Photo by English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Only feet away from the chaotic Hyde Park Corner underground station, Apsley House is a wonderfully preserved time capsule of British patriotism and martial endeavours. It is most commonly associated with that great military hero and victor of the battle of Waterloo, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.

Filled with his portraits, regalia and ostentatious displays of silver and furniture, Apsley could almost serve as a shrine to the Iron Duke. The house in its current state appears fit for service, out of place in the 21st century. There are portraits of commanders and heroes of the Napoleonic Wars dominating the walls, while the dinner service, soft furnishings and musical instruments look only momentarily untouched, unaffected by the two centuries that have passed. In the silence of the house, apart from the few creaking floorboards, you can imagine a bustle of uniformed captains and generals walking into the great dining room with talk of war and politics.

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