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Go wild for London’s top ten animal statues

Posted at 6:15 pm, September 15, 2013 in Fun London, Outdoor London, Photos of London

1) Guy the Gorilla

London's top ten Animal statues, Guy the Gorilla

Western lowland gorilla Guy (1946-78) was one of London Zoo’s biggest tourist attractions. There are two statues of him in the city: one from 1961 in Crystal Palace Park by Beatles-sculpting superstar David Wynne, and one in the zoo, sculpted in 1982 by William Timym. The 1961 work is all about raw power, with Guy a looming presence. By 1982, collective memory had turned him into a smiley furball. Crystal Palace Park, SE21. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1

2) Paddington Bear

London's top ten Animal statues, Paddington Bear

A good example of the benefits of a liberal immigration policy, this bear (birth name Pastuzo) arrived in 1958 at Paddington Station from darkest Peru without any documentation. Renamed after his point of arrival, he overcame this early obstacle to become a poster bear for the rebirth of Notting Hill. And marmalade. His hard stare was commemorated in bronze by Marcus Cornish in 2000. Paddington Station, W2.

3) Hodge the Cat

London's top ten Animal Statues, Hodge the Cat

Dr Samuel Johnson, creator of  the eighteenth-century English dictionary, had a particular affection for one of his moggies. ‘I never shall forget the indulgence with which he treated Hodge, his cat,’ wrote Johnson’s biographer James Boswell, ‘for whom he himself used to go out and buy oysters.’ Since 1997, this tribute by Jon Bickley has stood outside Johnson’s house. Hodge is sitting on Johnson’s dictionary, anticipating his next oyster. Gough Square, EC4. 

4) Imperial Camel Corps memorial 

London's top ten Animal Statues, Camel Corps

If only the World War I Camel Corps hadn’t been disbanded in 1919… Think of the fun they’d add to the Remembrance Sunday parade. In its short history, the Camel Corps fought in many key battles, all of which are listed on this monument, erected in 1921 and sculpted by veteran of the brigade Major Cecil Brown. The closest you can get to viewing their exploits these days is watching David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Embankment Gardens, WC1.

5) Elephant (and Castle) 

London's top ten Animal Statues, Elephant (and castle)

No one knows who is responsible for this piece of public kitsch, which tops the entrance to London’s most bizarre shopping centre. Let’s hope it survives the ongoing redevelopment of the area, which takes its name from a pub that once stood there. In an early example of product placement, Shakespeare name-checks it in ‘Twelfth Night’: In the south suburbs, at the Elephant, is best to lodge,’ says Antonio, who had clearly never attempted to navigate its giant roundabout on a bicycle. Elephant and Castle, SE1.

6) Jamrach’s Tiger

London's top ten Animal Statues, Jamrach's Tiger

Inspired by a local nineteeth-century tale, Tanya Russell created this seven-foot bronze of a boy and a tiger for the new Tobacco Dock shopping complex in the 1980s. Legend has it that a tiger escaped from Charles Jamrach’s exotic pet store on Ratcliffe Highway and picked the lad up in its razor-sharp teeth. He lived to tell the tale. The shopping centre hasn’t been so lucky. It’s been eerily abandoned for over ten years, though it is hired out for filming and private parties. Tobacco Dock, E1.

7) Brown Dog

London's top ten Animal Statues, Battersea Brown Dog

This ugly mutt by Nicola Hicks in Battersea Park replaced a long-lost earleir version in 1985. The original was erected by anti-vivisectionists in 1903, inspired by what they claimed was cruel experimentation on dogs by physiologist William Bayliss at UCL. The statue became a flashpoint for fisticuffs between medical students and dog lovers, and was vandalised so frequently it needed a 24-hour police guard. One night in 1910 it was stealthily removed by the council. Battersea Park, SW8.

8) Lioness and Lesser Kudu

London's top ten Animal Statues, Lioness and Lesser Kudu

Proof that money can’t buy you taste, this weird African savannah scene, sculpted by Jonathan Kenworthy, was plonked in the middle of Victoria in 2000 by the Duke of Westminster. Thanks, Duke! Grosvenor Gardens, SW1.

9) Jacob the Cart House

London's top ten Animal Statues, Jacob the Cart Horse

The lifesize nag was installed by helicopter near Tower Bridge in 1987 in memory of the Courage Brewery stables on Horselydown Lane. A mile or two upriver, on Westminster Bridge, the South Bank lion is further evidence of Britons’ enduring love of beer. It was rescued from the Lion Brewery, demolished in 1951 to make way for the Royal Festival Hall. Queen Elizabeth St, SE1. Westminster Bridge, SE1.

10) The LSE Penguin

London's top ten Animal Statues, The LSE Penguin

Is there anything students won’t nick? Canada’s generous gift to the nation, sculpted by Yolanda Vandergaast, has so far been lifted twice, leaving only a pair of flippers as evidence of its existence. There’s another replacement there now, but it’s term time, so move fast. Clare Market, WC2.

Read our other London top tens.

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