Queen Victoria’s Statue at the British Embassy in Bangkok
This is a statue of Queen Victoria that can be found in the grounds of the British Embassy in Bangkok. The words on the plinth say: “Victoria, Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, Empress of India. Erected in loving memory by her subjects in Siam.” From what I understand, the statue has been moved at least two times.
The statue of Queen Victoria was originally at the front entrance to the British Consulate. As you can see from this picture taken around 1900, the statue was literally on the main road. This road was the first of its kind in Bangkok and was called New Road by the foreign community. The Thai name for this road is Charoen Krung and the site of the old British Consulate has now been taken over by the General Post Office. Queen Victoria “The Black Queen”, was highly venerated by Thai women who believed that she brought good luck. Some prayed to her for the winning numbers in the state lottery. Others were more interested in have plenty of children like the queen.
When a new plot of land was bought on Ploenchit road in the early 1920’s Queen Victoira’s statue and the flagpole were moved to this new site. At the time this was on the edge of Bangkok and many British citizens complained that the new embassy wasn’t so convenient to visit. The first structure to be built was the War Memorial in 1923. This was paid for by British subjects in Thailand. The buildings in the compound were completed in 1926. This picture is taken from Ploenchit Road showing the War Memorial, Queen Victoria’s statue and the Ambassador’s Residence at the back. The statue was boarded up during World War II, but the Japanese kindly provided a peephole so that Her late Majesty would not be upset.
In 2006, the embassy sold 3.55 acres of land which included the front entrance. In 2007, the War Memorial was relocated from its original site close to Ploenchit Road to a new site directly in front of the Ambassador’s residence. At the same time the statue of Queen Victoria was removed from its site overlooking Ploenchit Road and relocated to a new site in the rear of the ambassador’s garden, overlooking the lake. Even today, the statue is popular with Thai women who still lay flowers and say a prayer for good luck. If anyone has any further information or pictures of Queen Victoria’s statue, can you please post in the comments.
Main source of information: ukinthailand.fco.gov.uk
5 thoughts on “Queen Victoria’s Statue at the British Embassy in Bangkok”
Hi. I lived in Bangkok from 1974 til 2012. I have now settled in Australia and have begun my book, finally. It’s the story of a young English girl who married a Thai man and has to settle in Thailand. I am describing entering the British Embassy at the end of April 1975 to attend the “off the record coffee morning” with the British Consular Officer. Myself and a few other British subjects (all married to Thais) were concerned about events in Cambodia after rumours of mass killings reached the expatriate community. My question: did the Gurkha guard at the main gate wear a beret (red?) or the structured hat as they do nowadays? Anyone able to help? Thank you
The flag pole in the old Consulate was the tallest in Bangkok. It was made from a merchant navy ship’s mast. After the pole was no longer useable the Embassy carpenter before he retired made a bench and table set with the wood. This is now kept by the kong in the Embassy grounds.
There are two flagpoles now. One near the main entrance, and the other just next to Queen Victoria
Dear Ambassador, we were in the embassy during the 1983/84-svere floods. The whole embassy grounds were flooded, reaching the very top steps of HMA,s residence. The then Ambassador J Staples,said he had never seen the klongs so high, or the water so deep in the embassy grounds, in all his previous times at the embassy. During your time at the embassy, did it ever flood so much?
George Scott, the subject of my book The Trouser People, bought the flagpole while chargé d’affaires during the 1890s. It collapsed during the raising ceremony. “Very bad luck,” observed Scott.