An End To Climbing The Lions


The lions of Trafalgar Square have been clambered on by generations of children, but today’s kids are rougher, and think nothing of trying to gouge their names into the bronze flanks of Landseer’s beasts with keys and other sharp objects. As a consequence, the metal has been eroded after 140 years from the original thickness of 15mm to just 3mm in places (the tail section of the north-easterly lion is most vulnerable) and it’s only a matter of time before one of them collapses.

So now,’heritage wardens’ armed with whistles will stop anyone attempting to climb the pedestals. First the pigeons went – now this.

7 comments on “An End To Climbing The Lions”

  1. Sparro says:

    “Heritage wardens armed with whistles” sounds like an interesting throwback to earlier days. it puts me in mind of that famous photo 1926 by Reg Speller. “London policewoman chasing kids in Hyde Park”

  2. Jon says:

    They can blow that whistle all they like. People still feed the pigeons, folk will still climb the lions.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Glad I photographed some young people on the lions two years ago. We have stone lions on the steps of Vancouver’s art gallery (formerly the court house) and for younger climbers there’s a pair of bronze eagles facing each other in Stanley Park. The tops of their wings are very shiny but they seem in good shape.

  4. Alan Morgan says:

    ‘Course, if we still had rag and bone men we could get fifty pee for scrap.

  5. Pierre says:

    Time was, when I was five, I was too scared of falling to climb the lions even with my Mum and elder brother offering to bump me up. I lived in St.Giles (a blitz baby 1940)so had plenty of opportunities in later years but never got over my fear. Now at 71, living in Florida – missing Central London every day – all I can do is watch the Square on streaming video. I was enjoying watching endless successions of kids trying their luck — and never falling off! A very exhilarating experience which sadly will now be no more. Some day hopefully the lions will get new coats and the kids can ride again!
    Until then at least — and at last — Landseer can stop turning in his grave at the lack of respect children everywhere paid to his pride.

  6. Alan G says:

    There is a simple solution. Just put a 10 foot high fence around the entire monument and make the kids go through a metal detector. They could then collect any keys etc. upon payment of a “Lion Tax”. Say… £10.00?

    This would arrest further malicious erosion and provide funds for repairs and big dinners.

    This will happen.

  7. Helen Martin says:

    There are too many fences now.

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