Unusual London Objects

5 Unusual London Objects No.7 (Animal Edition)

1. The Lions New York is your go-to city for gargoyles, but if it’s lions your after, there are approximately 10,000 of them dotted around the place. Some have wings, some are on Britannia’s helmet, some are sleeping or sad, some hold shields or wear crowns. Some are roaring, many are on pubs. There’s one […]

5 Unusual London Objects No.6

1. The Drunkard’s Dream Once nearly every London and seaside penny arcade had them, automata made by the Bolland company around 1935. When you put a penny in them they came to life, and were incredibly creepy. The most common surviving model today is ‘The Night Watchman’, but the creepiest were one set in a […]

5 Unusual London Objects No.4

1. The Emerald Salamander It’s part of the largest hoard of Tudor and Jacobean jewellery ever found – almost 500 pieces of extraordinary rarity and beauty, unearthed in 1912 by workmen demolishing an old jeweller’s premises on Cheapside. The Emerald Salamader is one of the items now on display at the Museum of London. The story of […]

Five Unusual London Objects No.3

1. The Beatrix Potter Tombstones It turns out that Beatrix Potter’s characters were real after all. The celebrated children’s author used to take walks in Brompton Cemetery, and noted down the names on the tombstones she saw all around her. These include Mr Nutkins, Peter Rabbit, Mr McGregor and Jeremiah Fisher. 2. The Birch Dragon […]

Five Unusual London Objects No.2

The past is all around if you know where to look. Outside the Athenaeum Club and the Institute of Directors in Waterloo Place are a pair of blackened kerb stones, or horse blocks, requested by the Duke of Wellington in 1830. They let him reach his horse while visiting his club. It’s odd that so many […]

Five Unusual London Objects

The huge success of BBC Radio 4’s ‘History of the World in One Hundred Objects’ made me think about writing this some time back but…I forgot to do it. Writers, tch. London’s rarities get harder to see as private interests hive them off – the most famous example was of Temple Bar disappearing onto someone’s […]