Tag Archives: Cutty Sark

The Golden Cats of London

When I go walking in London, I keep my camera at the ready, and I noticed a trend: here and there are beautiful, golden cats, watching us and sometimes growling at us. They’re all beautiful, of course.

The first is this little chap below: in the street picture below him again, you can see the entrance to a building on the right hand side. There are two lamp-posts at the door to that building, and that’s where these little cats huddle together.

I’m cheating with the next one, because it’s not a moggy, it’s a lion, but it is golden. It’s on Prince Frederick’s Barge, at the Greenwich Museum. It was renovated a few years ago, and looks absolutely splendiferous, doesn’t it?

At St John’s Zachary, in the City itself, is another big cat, and it is utterly, utterly gorgeous. But fierce! It’s a leopard, and it was made by apprentices at the Rural Development Commission in Salisbury, managed by the Blacksmiths Company. It’s completely appropriate that the leopard is golden, as this land was once owned (starting in the fourteenth century!) by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Being right in the City of London, the area was badly damaged in the Blitz, but it was turned into a garden even during the war itself, and then afterwards, with all the rebuilding work going on, an effort was made to have a few green spaces. The leopard is pretty new, added during redevelopment work in the 1990s. At A London Inheritance, a fascinating photography blog, there’s a picture of the rebuilding work – I don’t yet have permission to post that picture here, so I’m just linking for now.  It’s the very first picture in that post.

In contrast, there really is a cat on the Cutty Sark, right here. This is genuinely known as a catshead! The function was to help secure the anchor, and in the fuller picture immediately below  our golden friend (who is tiny, you have to look hard to see him) you can see the anchor at bottom left. No one knows which came first, the name or the carving, but its produced some beautiful works of art, that’s for sure.

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