Seeing as how London is about to be center stage of the worlds attention I thought it would be a good time to present some of my favorite cats of the smoke.
First off, of course, are the four lions around Nelsons column. There was some controversy about their creation but now they’re clearly iconic, and if you take your kids to London and don’t get a picture of them sitting on a lion’s back then you’re selling them short.
Then there’s the Southbank Lion. originally I think it was outside a pub blasted to bits in the blitz (not sure about that) but now he graces the east side of Westminster bridge and I really like him. Apparently he wasn’t sculpted but produced by some weird chemical process. To my mind he’s got a really noble aspect.
Here’s a poweful sculpture of a lioness chasing a lesser kudu in Grosvenor Gardens near Victoria. Really strong action in this one.
More subtle is this - I’ve been passing it for years, no idea what it’s called or anything about it - I think it’s on private ground, owned by the building behind it, so not a public work, but I like the idea behind it. She - I think if it as female for some reason - is just lurking on a branch in the bushes, hard to see unless you’re looking for her, waiting to pounce. It’s on the corner of Friday Street and Cannon Street, a stone’s throw from St. Paul's.
This one’s a bit further afield, about 6 miles out from the center in the middle of a busy road junction. He just appeared a few years ago. On stilts. I appreciate the randomness.
These giant cats - look Egyptian to me - are outside Greater London House, an impressive art deco building on the southern edge of Camden. Building once was a cigarette factory, apparently, now mainly fashion and media offices.
More fun, I think is this down in Catford - a bit of a run-down area, been there for years gracing the sign for the local shopping center. Looks like Tom from Tom and Jerry to me.
A more normal size is Dick Whittington’s cat on Highgate Hill at the spot where the young Whittington turned back to try again to make his fortune in London. It’s in a protective cage now but as a kid I always used to give it a pat as I went past. That’s Whittington Hospital behind it.
But my favorite is Hodge in Gough Square, just off Fleet Street. Hodge was one of Doctor Samuel Johnson’s cats and is actually mentioned several times by his his friend and biographer. He’s sitting next to an oyster shell looking at Dr Johnson’s house which is like a museum thing. Apparently Johnson used to go out and gets Hodge’s oysters himself because he didn’t want his servants to resent and so ill treat the cat. Often there’ll be a few coins left in the oyster shell, I don’t know why or where they go but I’ve left a few coppers there myself. Often take lunch on the bench seen behind - or rather the newer benches in the same place.
More info on most of these can be found with a simple Google search
Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change? ~~ Oddball