York Column ... Admission is attainable, and ascent to the summit accessible, during the hours of 12 and 3 in winter, and 12 and 4 in summer. Admission 6d. each.
Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844
YORK COLUMN, CARLTON GARDENS. A column of Scotch granite, erected (1830-33) by public subscription, with a bronze statue of the Duke of York, the second son of George III., upon the top. The column, 124 feet high, was designed by Mr. B. Wyatt, and the statue, 14 feet high, executed by Sir Richard Westmacott. There is a staircase and gallery affording a fine view of the west end of London and the Surrey Hills. It is open from 12 to 4, from May to Sept. 24th, during which period alone the atmosphere of London is clear enough to allow the view to be seen.
Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850
This is Waterloo-place, surrounded by columned mansions. .... In front of the stairs is the Duke of York's column, of which very little can be said, except that it is ninety-four feet high, and some years ago the jumping down from the top and being smashed on the broad stones at its base, was a fashionable mode of committing suicide. It's a pity that none of the poor wretches ever thought of over throwing and jumping down with the statue of the Duke of York, for it stands ridiculously high, and the impression it makes on that bad eminence is by no means agreeable.
Max Schlesinger, Saunterings in and about London, 1853
The York Column, Carlton House Gardens, 124 ft. high, erected from Wyatt's designs in 1833. The bronze statue, by Westmacott, is 14 ft. high. The column is ascended by a spiral staircase. Open in summer from 10 to 4 p.m., and winter, 12 to 3 p.m.; admission, 6d.
Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865
YORK COLUMN, Carlton-gardens, built 1830-33, in memory of the Duke of York (d. 1827), Commander-in-Chief of the army, and forty-six years a soldier; whose statue is placed on the summit. The building fund, about 25,000l., was raised by subscription, to which each individual of the service contributed one day's pay. The Column (Tuscan), designed by B. Wyatt, is of fine Aberdeenshire granite, the lower pedestal grey, and the shaft of red Peterhead; the surface fine-axed, or not polished. The abacus of the capital is enclosed with iron railing, and in its centre is the pedestal for the statue. Within the pedestal and shaft is a spiral staircase of 168 steps, which, with the newel, or central pillar, and outer casing, are cut from the solid block. The masonry throughout, by Nowell, is remarkably good. The statue, of bronze, by Sir Richard Westmacott, R.A., represents the Duke in the robes of the Order of the Garter. The weight is 7 tons 800 lbs., or 16,480 lbs.; it was raised April 8, 1834, between the column and the scaffolding, seven hours labour, at a cost of 400l. The column may be ascended from 12 to 4, from May to Sept. 24, 6d. each person: the view from the gallery of the Surrey hills and western London is fine; the latter showed the magnificence of Regent-street, and the skill of the architect, Nash, in the junction of the lines by the Quadrant. On May 14, 1850, Henri Joseph Stephan, a French musician, committed suicide by throwing himself from the gallery, which has since been entirely enclosed with iron caging. The height of the column is 123 feet 6 inches; of the statue, 13 feet 6 inches = 137 feet; or viewed from the bottom of the steps, at the level of St. James's Park, 156 feet: upper diameter of shaft, 10 feet 1¾ inches; lower diameter, 11 feet 7½ inches. The foundation, laid in concrete, is pyramidal, 53 feet square at the base.
The height of the balcony of the York Column is very nearly that of the under side of the great tube of the Britannia Bridge, over the Menai Straits, above high water. The entire length of the bridge is 1832 feet 8 inches; considerably more than that of Waterloo-place, from the York Column to the foot of the Quadrant.-Proceedings of the Society of Arts, 1851.
Dr. Waagen condemns this monument as a bad imitation of Trajan's Column, very mean and poor in appearance, with a naked shaft, and without an entasis: whereas the bas-reliefs on the shaft of Trajan's Pillar give it, at least, the impression of a lavish profusion of art. Besides, the statue on the York Column, though as colossal as the size of the base will allow, appears little and puppet-like compared with the column; and the features and expression of the countenance seem wholly lost to the spectator.
John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867