27 August 2016 | 25 °C

London's Best Literary Statues

London's Best Literary Statues
One of London's most famous fictional residents, Paddington Bear is immortalised in this bronze statue by Marcus Cornish in Paddington Station. Michael Bond's first book about the bear from darkest Peru was published in 1958, based on a lone teddy bear that Bond saw on a shop shelf near the station. The statue was created in 2000. Give him his due -- he heeds National Rail’s advice of not leaving his luggage unattended.
One of London's most famous fictional residents, Paddington Bear is immortalised in this bronze statue by Marcus Cornish in Paddington Station. Michael Bond's first book about the bear from darkest Peru was published in 1958, based on a lone teddy bear that Bond saw on a shop shelf near the station. The statue was created in 2000. Give him his due -- he heeds National Rail’s advice of not leaving his luggage unattended.
Not the most traditional of sculptures, but then Oscar Wilde wasn't a typical kind of  guy. This memorial in Charing Cross is officially called A Conversation with Oscar Wilde, the idea being that his oh-so-inviting visage entices the passer-by to take a seat and engage the famous playwright in conversation.  Despite his death in 1900, the green granite and bronze tribute to Wilde by Maggi Hambling was not unveiled until 1998.
Not the most traditional of sculptures, but then Oscar Wilde wasn't a typical kind of guy. This memorial in Charing Cross is officially called A Conversation with Oscar Wilde, the idea being that his oh-so-inviting visage entices the passer-by to take a seat and engage the famous playwright in conversation. Despite his death in 1900, the green granite and bronze tribute to Wilde by Maggi Hambling was not unveiled until 1998.
This bronze Peter Pan statue is located in Hyde Park, specifically Kensington Gardens, which author J.M. Barrie used as inspiration for his tale about the boy who never grew up. Barrie himself commissioned the statue, which was created by Sir George Frampton and unveiled in 1912, 10 years after the first story of Peter Pan was published. The base of the statue is a tree trunk, with rabbits and fairies clambering over it.
This bronze Peter Pan statue is located in Hyde Park, specifically Kensington Gardens, which author J.M. Barrie used as inspiration for his tale about the boy who never grew up. Barrie himself commissioned the statue, which was created by Sir George Frampton and unveiled in 1912, 10 years after the first story of Peter Pan was published. The base of the statue is a tree trunk, with rabbits and fairies clambering over it.
Poet John Keats has swapped the safety of the 'burbs in Hampstead for -- heaven forbid -- south of the river. This first statue of  Keats was unveiled in Guy's Hospital in 2007 by then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. The alcove in which Keats is perched comes from the Old London Bridge, so double history points for visiting this site. The bronze cast is by sculptor Stuart Williamson.
Poet John Keats has swapped the safety of the 'burbs in Hampstead for -- heaven forbid -- south of the river. This first statue of Keats was unveiled in Guy's Hospital in 2007 by then Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. The alcove in which Keats is perched comes from the Old London Bridge, so double history points for visiting this site. The bronze cast is by sculptor Stuart Williamson.
There are actually two statues of Winnie the Pooh at London Zoo (AA Milne's books are inspired by a bear named Winnipeg who used to reside here). This statue shows Winnipeg with Lt Harry Coleburn, the Canadian soldier who gifted her to the zoo. There is also a statue of Winnie the Bear alone. Both have recently been resited within the London Zoo as a result of building work and in preparation for the centenary of the arrival of Winnipeg, later in the summer.
There are actually two statues of Winnie the Pooh at London Zoo (AA Milne's books are inspired by a bear named Winnipeg who used to reside here). This statue shows Winnipeg with Lt Harry Coleburn, the Canadian soldier who gifted her to the zoo. There is also a statue of Winnie the Bear alone. Both have recently been resited within the London Zoo as a result of building work and in preparation for the centenary of the arrival of Winnipeg, later in the summer.
"Oh bother, they've cancelled the 2.39 AGAIN?" Many Londoners and tourists in St Pancras International hurry past this statue daily without knowing much about it. It portrays former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, and was unveiled when the station reopened in 2007. As well as his literary work, Betjeman is credited with helping save St Pancras station from demolition.
"Oh bother, they've cancelled the 2.39 AGAIN?" Many Londoners and tourists in St Pancras International hurry past this statue daily without knowing much about it. It portrays former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, and was unveiled when the station reopened in 2007. As well as his literary work, Betjeman is credited with helping save St Pancras station from demolition.
You won't need Watson's help to find this larger than life (three metres, to be precise) bronze statue of Sherlock Holmes outside Baker Street station, around the corner from his famous 221b Baker Street abode. Scuplted by John Doubleday in 1999, it was funded by the now defunct Abbey National, whose building was on the site of 221b (the modern-day Sherlock Holmes Museum is actually at 239 Baker Street). There is no statue of Sherlock creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in London, but there is one in Crowborough, East Sussex, where he lived just before his death.
You won't need Watson's help to find this larger than life (three metres, to be precise) bronze statue of Sherlock Holmes outside Baker Street station, around the corner from his famous 221b Baker Street abode. Scuplted by John Doubleday in 1999, it was funded by the now defunct Abbey National, whose building was on the site of 221b (the modern-day Sherlock Holmes Museum is actually at 239 Baker Street). There is no statue of Sherlock creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in London, but there is one in Crowborough, East Sussex, where he lived just before his death.
Although Tavistock Square is largely dominated by the Gandhi statue, this bust of Virginia Woolf (normally minus the hat and scarf) also resides there -- so hard to get A Room of One's Own in London these days The author wrote many of her books in her former residence on the square. The bust was sculpted from life in 1931, and was moved to its current home in 2004 by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.
Although Tavistock Square is largely dominated by the Gandhi statue, this bust of Virginia Woolf (normally minus the hat and scarf) also resides there -- so hard to get A Room of One's Own in London these days The author wrote many of her books in her former residence on the square. The bust was sculpted from life in 1931, and was moved to its current home in 2004 by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.
Monuments to Shakespeare are plentiful in London, but perhaps the most famous (and certainly the one that gets most passing foot traffic) is this one slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square. Will was removed briefly for a spit and polish as part of a spring clean of the entire area, but resumed his usual position in Autumn 2013, and has been rueing the arrival of M&Ms World to the area ever since.
Monuments to Shakespeare are plentiful in London, but perhaps the most famous (and certainly the one that gets most passing foot traffic) is this one slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square. Will was removed briefly for a spit and polish as part of a spring clean of the entire area, but resumed his usual position in Autumn 2013, and has been rueing the arrival of M&Ms World to the area ever since.

Peter Pan: Photo by Guy Tyler on Flickr

Keats: Photo by Luke Cox on Flickr

Oscar Wilde: Ken on Flickr

John Betjeman: Oddutch on Flickr

Sherlock: Wally Gobetz on Flickr

Shakespeare: Andy Worthington on Flickr

Virginia Woolf: James on Flickr

All others: Londonist

See also our Speaking with Statues series, which brings London's stony-faced residents to life.

Of course, many other writers and their intellectual offspring are commemorated in various forms around London. Which literary statue is your favourite?

Last Updated 03 March 2016

Laura Reynolds

Article by Laura Reynolds | 845 articles | View Profile | Twitter

thalia

What about Peter Pan at the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital?

Poozli

What about Charles Dickens in Holborn Bar ?