London’s seven statues of shame

When Mohamed ‘Al’ Fayed unveiled this extraordinary tribute to Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage, seasoned statue-watchers found themselves embroiled in a furious debate. Was this London’s worst statue?

Note: the statue is the one in the background

And then there are these: London’s statues of shame.

7. Peter The Great in Deptford
Because it is silly.


6 Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace
Pompous and bloated.

5 Charles II at Soho Square
For its condition as much as its, er, execution. But even if this wasn’t horribly weathered, I reckon it would look a bit shit.

File:Statue of King Charles II in Soho Square.jpg

4 Oscar Wilde at Charing Cross
Disturbing. Like somebody tried to find the face of Jesus in a puddle of vomit.

3 Nelson Mandela at Parliament Square
I know, let’s imagine one of the great icons of the modern era, as if he was a THUNDERBIRDS PUPPET! The nearby statue of David Lloyd George’s cape is also appalling.


2. Horse’s head at Marble Arch
Stupid. Not to be confused with the almost as ridiculous Animals at War statue down the road on Park Lane.

1 The Meeting Place at St Pancras
Widely acclaimed as the worst statue in London, this monstrosity was brought to you by the same person responsible for the hideously smug Queen Mother statue on the Mall.

For a forensic analysis of this statue and its fauls, I point you towards Christopher Fowler‘s excellent critique of its numerous deficencies.

But the question remains: is Jacko worse than this?


16 responses to “London’s seven statues of shame

  1. I quite like the Wilde one. So I’d subtract that one and add in Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket at Cumberland Wharf.

  2. That is vile Tom. Not sure how I have never noticed it before.

  3. Inspired blog thanks very much! I’d like to second Tom’s recommendation, and I’d also offer that the Horse’s head at Marble Arch is infinitely better than the lion on the south side of Westminster Bridge. It has an utterly gaumless expression and the body proportions of a pug, is horribly modelled and shabbily cast in fibreglass, and all its technical shabbiness painted over with a thick coat of what appears to be household magnolia:

  4. Have walked past the Charles II effort on thousands of occasions in the last couple of decades, and have often wondered whether the sculptor left a trainee to finish it off whilst he was off for a long lunch. And the horse’s head is just bloody silly.

    Fayed’s Jackson effort just looks like a waxwork of a Michael Jackson impersonator. We can only hope that Roman isn’t a Billy Ray Cyrus fan…

  5. The Coade Stone Lion on Westminster Bridge is a bit of a London legend/landmark – – but it does have a funny shaped body now you mention it.

  6. Not really a statue, but I’d vote for the West Hampstead chef:
    Wild bore, anyone?

    He used to terrify me with his gnarled, gurnsome face, clenched fist, and mis-spelled menu (‘wild bore’).

  7. Linda Semple

    PW is correct about the Sputh bank Lion. It’s not fibre glass but Coade Stone. Quite a lot about this on the web but ignore Wiki: it makes the mistake of thinking Eleanor Coade was one person when both mother – who commercialised the process – and daughter – who took over – were called Eleanor. There’s a privately-printed book I’ve seen in the Guildhall Library about them; a bit about them in ‘The Middling Sort’ by Margaret Hunt and the Guidhall also holds John Soane’s own Coadestone catalogue with bits cut out. Geek? Me?

  8. Chris Pearson

    Are you series, you actually think The Meeting Place at St Pancras is the worst in London, I actually think its the best and now with the Olympic Rings hanging over their heads, it only adds to the beauty.

  9. Peter Crisp Packet

    That horse head. I’d go on a march to get that torn down. We could tear it down on the march.

  10. I also quite like the Wilde statue but agree with the rest. Can’t believe I’d never noticed that Godfather-style horses head before.

  11. That Hyde Park Horse Head is horrible… total Godfather. And why is it balancing on its nose? And what is its purpose?

  12. There’s a very strange statue of Sir Thomas More outside Chelsea Old Church on Chelsea Embankment that has a gold face and gold hands…it is the spookiest thing in the dark!!! Weird:

  13. Great blog, and I enjoyed the worst statues of London, I’ve seen a few of them, but the Oscar Wilde is by far the worst.

  14. Thanks for those. The Meeting Place makes me cringe every time I get off the Eurostar. Makes me think I’m arriving in Milton Keynes. Or Birmingham.

  15. Another Fayed, the Di and Dodi dancing with an albatross inside Harrod’s. Words fail…..

  16. Pingback: A horse’s head at Hyde Park Corner – Brian Micklethwait's New Blog

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