A Random Collection Of Massive Or Otherwise Unusual Hands To See Around London

By M@ Last edited 40 months ago

Last Updated 18 January 2021

A Random Collection Of Massive Or Otherwise Unusual Hands To See Around London

Me: "Please can we run a photo-led piece about all the giant and unusual hands around London?"
Editor: "The what, now?"
Me: "Hands — you know, fingers and thumbs and palms. Just that we seem to have an awful lot of them in our photo collection, and it might make a good image gallery."
Editor: "But who cares? Who'll read it? Nobody's searching for the 'best hands in London' or anything."
Me: "Um."
Editor: "No — use your time more constructively."
Me: "Pleeeeease."
Editor: "No."
Me: Shows middle finger.

We begin with a pair of clasped hands engirdled by an argent ring, by Lorenzo Quinn. The united limbs grace the riverside at Millbank. Their chrome surfaces look shiny on even the most miserable of days — which was precisely the day we chose to take this photograph. You could only really do this with hands. The sculpture wouldn't really work with two necks, say, or a pair of entwined ears. That is the genius of Lorenzo Quinn.

London's most famous massive hand, the thumbs-up by David Shrigley on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth. This one looks best if you close your eyes.

Bet you've never stood here. This is a rare glimpse of the hand of the Angel of Peace, on top of the Wellington Arch. We got a behind-the-scenes tour a few years back. The detail on the sculpture is remarkable — note the veins in the wrist — given that only pigeons and maniacs ever climb up here.

This massive yellow hand was one of the brickish attractions at a Lego show in Truman Brewery in 2014. You can't see it anymore, and I'm not sure why we've included it really. But there you go.

More hand-clenching action, this time of a more sombre note. We're at the Workers Memorial in Three Mills Green, near Bow. The sculpture is by Alec Peever. It remembers a local tragedy in which four men lost their lives down a nearby well at the turn of the 20th century.

A handy coal hole cover in Spitalfields — one of a series of arty discs in the area. This one depicts a henna-stenciled hand, symbolic of the Bengali community.

Spitalfields is a happy hunting ground for manual ironmongery. Here's a creepy doorknocker round the corner from the coal hole. Look through the spyhole and you can see a withered child on the other side.

Anyone else feel that the stanchions in King's Cross station look like massive splayed hands? No? Take a peek next time you're there.

A pair of hands hides away in Inner Temple. These are the Hands of Justice by Tanya Russell. Tourists would love to take photographs of each other getting squashed between the palms, if only tourists ever found their way into this obscure courtyard.

The William Gladstone sculpture in Bow has sported red hands as long as anyone can remember. As Prime Minister, Gladstone introduced an unpopular tax on matches. Local match girls protested, and supposedly cut themselves to pour blood on the statue. Evidence for the story is hard to find but, to this day, whenever the hands are cleaned, someone paints them red again. Pity it wasn't Palm-erston.

This is the hand of a colossal Roman statue, found in Lower Thames Street. Experts aren't certain, but it's probably from the Emperor Hadrian, whose bronze noggin was also found nearby. The fragments may well be from London's very first statue. View it in the British Museum.

This rather lovely pub sign belongs to the Hand in Hand pub on Wimbledon Common.

On a more gruesome note, here is the severed thumb of Mr Victor Hatherley, as displayed in the otherwise elementary Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Are you still reading? Is anyone still reading? If so, let us know in the comments about other unusual or totally massive hands you've spotted around town.