The Friday Photos: Here Be Dragons

Londoners travelling in and out of the City every day have to pass the guardians of the square mile.

Dragons (or griffins, creatures with the body of a lion and head and wings of an eagle), each holding a shield bearing the City’s coat-of-arms, stand at the south end of London Bridge, on High Holborn and at Moorgate among other places.

At Temple Bar meanwhile, there is a much more dramatic sculpture, by Victorian artist C B Birch (images 5 and 8, above), of a fiercer griffin with its wings flared.

In classical mythology, the historian Peter Ackroyd has noted, the griffin guarded gold and treasure, so the presence of these creatures at the gates of the City is apposite.

Images from the Londonist Flickr pool: Tom SpenderVeronica AguilarSteve ReedPrad PatelStuart SunleyAnna JayHomemadeDave McGowan and roll the dice.

Did you see the great little videos about the City of London and to become Lord Mayor of London?

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  • Peter Twist

    When it was decided in 1965 to place Dragons at all the principal entrances to the City of London, a competition was held to decide between the fierce ones at Temple Bar, near the Law Courts, and the more friendly ones upon the Embankment, near Temple Underground.
    The latter had been resited from the roof of the old Coal Exchange, prior to its demolition.

    The City of London Corporation chose the more benign ones which became the model for the dragons which today greet visitors to this great City within a City.

  • http://twitter.com/dgbdgb dgbdgb

    In the City of London they are definitely Dragons. Not Griffins – quite a different beast. There is an excellent page on dragons at http://www.jimbatty.com/articles/dragonphotos.html – and City of London guide Karen Chester runs some great walks that tracks down many of the Dragons in the City – see http://www.bigsmokewalks.com/walk_dragon1.html