London's weather vanes
Posted: Mon Jan 8 2007
6 Cricketing codger
Lord’s GrandstandA treasured cricketing icon gifted to the MCC by architect Sir Herbert Baker in 1926. The cast iron vane depicts a stooped Father Time, fiddling with his wicket. The poor chap’s not had an easy life, having been wrenched from the stand by an errant barrage balloon during WWII, then losing a hand to a lightning strike in 1992. Still, he could probably claim a ‘Blue Peter’ badge, after his repair and re-gilding led to an appearance on the show.
7 Shopping shipping
Liberty, Great Marlborough StIt's only right that this dotty shopping institution should have a maritime bauble. Its mock Tudor frontage was assembled from the timbers of two ships, HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable (the latter was once the largest wooden ship in the world). The weather vane was designed by EP Roberts in the 1920s and represents the Pilgrim Fathers’ Mayflower.
8 Copper caravel
2 Temple PlaceThis malproportioned caravel was commissioned by Lord Astor in 1895 to crown his elegant riverside pile, close to Temple station. Here we see another famous boat, this time Columbus’s ‘Santa Maria’. Along with much of the metalwork on the building, the weather vane was created in gilded copper by J Starkie Gard.
9 Beaufort beaver
60-64 BishopsgateBeaver weather vane: sounds like a potential Googlewhack. But London does possess one, atop this tower on Bishopsgate. The golden rodent is a reminder of the Hudson Bay Company, purveyors of beaver pelts and other furs since 1668. They quit the spot in 1970, and stopped trading scooped-out animals in 1989.
10 Windy Wyrm
St Mary-le-Bow, CheapsideA winged dragon built by Robert Bird in 1674 sits on a Wren steeple. It’s said that every one of Wren’s post-fire churches featured a different weather vane design. None are finer than this nine foot-long monster, high above Cheapside. A more recent near-replica can be found on St James Bermondsey.
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