Russian cosmonaut makes Greenwich landing
A statue of the Russian pilot and cosmonaut, who died in 1968, was unveiled at the Royal Observatory on Thursday by his daughter.
Speaking at the ceremony, Elena Gagarin said: "My father dreamed of the sky but also always dreamed of home.
"Today he found that wonderful home in Greenwich."
The statue arrived from the Mall in central London. It is now placed in the newly titled Yuri Gagarin Terrace, near to the General Wolfe statue.
The move came about after much work by Lord Sterling of Plaistow, the chairman of the National Maritime Museum.
Lord Sterling said: "I spoke with the chair of the British Council and said 'where else would be as appropriate as here?'
"What could be a better home for Gagarin, the first explorer of space, than the Royal Observatory."
Dignitaries and television crews from Russia attended the rain-filled event, which saw the unveiling toasted with a shot of vodka.
The statue was originally a gift to the British Council fromRussian federal space agency Roscosmos in July 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned space flight.
Westminster City Council granted permission for it to be at the Mall for 15 months.
The move to the Royal Observatory was supported by shipping firm Sovcomflot, airline Aeroflot and the Russian State Railways.
Dr Kevin Fewster, Director, Royal Museums Greenwich, paid tribute to Gagarin.
He said: "For centuries Maritime Greenwich was the starting point for voyages of discovery, while the astronomers of the Royal Observatory explored the heavens through their telescopes.
"In 1961 Yuri Gagarin brought these realms together. Journeying beyond the Earth, he was a true explorer and a hero for the entire planet."