1Photo of Wyvern on London Rd2Photo of Wyvern on East Avenue
3Photo of Wyvern on Granville House4Photo of Fox on Granville House
5Photo of Reptile on HSBC bank6Photo of Cow on Connaught St
7Photo of Lion on New Walk8Photo of turkey at Turkey Cafe
9Photo of night panel on Town Hall10Photo of day panel on Town Hall
11Photo of Tiger on High St 12Photo of Ostrich on High St

Animals

One of the more playful aspects of Victorian architects and builders was their use of animal sculptures to decorate buildings. Wyverns (1) are associated with Leicester via the seal of Thomas of Lancaster, a former Earl of Leicester. They can be seen all over the city and differ from a dragon in having two, rather then four, legs. Unfortunately for Leicester, the wyvern is a malicious creature - more information is at this Baronage site.
Leicester has several other wyverns like that on East Avenue (2), and they can be seen on this website's wyvern page. Granville House sports not only a few wyverns (3), but also a fox (4). One might have expected more representations of foxes in Leicester and, although there are plenty on weather vanes, door knockers etc., I haven't seen any other examples like this.
The HSBC bank on Granby Street is crawling with many little monsters like that in photo (5), and a couple of these can also be found on the school in Church Langton. These were created by Samuel Barfield, who also made the statues on the Clock Tower. The bank also has some birds nicely depicted in terracotta.
I haven't seen anything else in Leicester like the head in Connaught Street (6), but I chose the dopey looking lion (7) from a large number of lion likenesses across the city - this one is on a doorway in New Walk. The turkey in photo (8) sits at the entrance to Arthur Wakerley's Turkey Cafe in Granby Street, while an owl and a duck feature in the night (9) and day (10) panels on the Town Hall.
Arthur Wakerley is also responsible for the animals on the Singer/Coronation building in the High Street. Placed high above the pavement and missed by many people, these animals represent six corners of the British Empire (the building was finished in 1904) - a kangaroo for Australia, a bear for Canada, a tiger for India (11), an elephant for Burma, an ostrich for Africa (12) and a dromedary for Egypt.
[Contents][University Home] [East Midland Oral History Archive Home Page] [contact the East Midland Oral History Project]