London's Smallest Statue

Harry Rosehill
By Harry Rosehill Last edited 90 months ago

Last Updated 07 December 2016

London's Smallest Statue
Photo: Matt Brown

Strain your eyes readers, as we give you London's smallest (public) statue. The most attention grabbing item on Philpot Lane might be the Walkie-Talkie, but whip your binoculars out and you might espy two tiny mice, above Caffè Nero.

The reason behind the two rodents is actually a little tragic. The statue dates back to the building's construction in 1862. Two of the workmen had an argument about which had stolen the other's sandwiches. This caused a fight atop the scaffolding, which led to a life-ending fall. It turned out afterwards that neither man was the guilty party, instead some mice had eaten the food. The remaining workmen left this diminutive sculpture on the building, in their honour.

So the mice are actually supposed to be engaging in some form of tug of war over the cheese. If no one had told us we might have thought they were just sharing, perhaps even planning on meeting in the middle à la Lady and the Tramp.

The mice reside just around the corner from the Monument to the Great Fire. We'd love to leave you at this point with some incredible stat stating that you can fit the mice statue 46,059 times into the Monument but unfortunately we can't. This is because there are no exact figures on how large (or small) the mice technically are, their placement halfway up a building makes it difficult to break out a ruler and check. This leaves their status as London's smallest statue unconfirmed.

Soho pig. Photo: Peter Berthoud

For awhile it had a serious challenger, as spotted by London guide Peter Berthoud. Again it's an animal that's in contention, this delightfully miniature pig in Soho. We can't seem to find much about any rhyme or reason behind the sculpture, apart from the fact it looks kind of cool. But that is of no consequence anymore; the pig has now been stolen, which is a problem that many of the mice's tiny contemporaries face.

Photo: Claude

Pete Berthoud also pointed us in the direction of Doctor Cream's Rolling Fools; these were also intended to be permanent but again keep getting thieved. A warning to sculptors working in the niche category of public miniatures: put a GPS chip inside, otherwise your creation will be lost pretty quickly.

Think you know of any more minuscule sculptures? Let us know down in the comments.