13 September 2022

Devils, Demons and Dragons

Oh how my eyes roll when I hear that daft story about why these delightful demons leer down over Cornhill in the City of London. If you don't know what I talking about, go google. I mean, really, eh?! If true, why did the clergy leave them in place? They are indeed unique in form, possibly one-offs, but they aren't the only sculptures of this type in London – you need only to look up and around you to see that London is splattered with fabulously devilish embellishments akin to these fellas. And I'm not here talking about gargoyles and grotesques on churches and the like.

To illustrat my point, I've put together here a selection of some of my favourites, starting a few minutes' walk from these little demons. And I'll start at the junction of Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street where there are lots of strange lumpy lizards:

At first glance the building resembles a triangular wedding cake, but look closer and see that between the windows on the upper floors there are many different dragon-like beasts, each one totally unique as if made by a different person. 

From here, continue along Queen Victoria St to The Blackfriars public house where you'll find these two spooky fellas in amongst all the other marvellous embellishments there:

Next, to another public house, and probably my favourite London demons. Every time I am near Paddington Station I have to make a detour to check that this old Truman's pub with its its unusual adornments is still intact:

Many residential properties built in the late Victorian to Edwardian era feature baying dragons above the front windows. These, I think, would have been available from the equivalent of today's Wickes or Travis Perkins builders supplies store:

And then there are serpents and mythological beasts on door knobs in Marylebone, under windows in Kensington and climbing up many different kinds of buildings, such as here in Chancery Lane:

You'll find them on tiled shop fronts in Kensington, almost everywhere you look at St Pancras Hotel,  lurking within panels and friezes as per here on a Fulham pub, or sitting atop others in Earls Court and Clapton: 

Aren't they fab?

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Thanks, Jane