Saturday, 27 August 2011

City of London Boundary Dragons

City of London Dragon on Victoria Embankment

At the heart of London are two cities: the City of London and the City of Westminster.  The City of London is the ancient part of London that was once known as the Roman city of Londinium.  It comprises an area of one square mile and is located north of South Bank and London Bridge.  The boundaries of the City of London have changed little since medieval times and the boundary is six miles long.

The entrance to the City of London is marked in ten locations by statues of dragons.  There are two dragons supporting the City of London Coat of Arms and dragons are important symbols of the city.

The dragons at Victoria Embankment are quite special (one of which is pictured above).  They mark the boundary between the City of London and the City of Westminster, with the dragon facing outwards from the City of London. 

These are the original dragons that were located under the entrance to the Coal Exchange in Lower Thames Street.  The Coal Exchange was demolished in 1963 and the dragons were moved to either side of the Victoria Embankment.  All of the other dragons were based on them and the map below marks their locations (click to be taken to Google Maps).

[Click me] Map of the City of London showing the location of the dragons

15 Comments:

Spiderdama 27 August 2011 at 09:08  

Exciting, I have never known anything about this.
Hope you have a nice and sunny weekend:-)

Jg. for FatScribe 27 August 2011 at 10:02  

outstanding ... love this post, ms. emm. as an anglophile, can't get enough info on London.

Kiki aka Victoria 27 August 2011 at 15:54  

How cool...I love being guided by you Emm...always fabulous knowledge to discover thankyou! and i love dragons..I am a dragon kind of gal!
Victora

Kathy Amen 27 August 2011 at 16:49  

We loved these dragons when we were in London and my husband got some good pictures of them. But we had no idea there were so many! It's really neat to have a map with all the locations.

I've added a link to this post to the page on my website where I feature London public art: http://kathyamen.net/dream/london/statues.htm. Thanks for providing this useful information!

li 28 August 2011 at 00:14  

I learn so much from you! And I envy you, living in a city like London which seems filled with endless discovery.

Travel Photo Blogging 28 August 2011 at 12:31  

Wow, this is really interesting. Ljubljana - the capital of Slovenia also has a dragon in its Coat of Arms. Dragons can be seen all over the city.

There is even a bridge called the Dragon bridge, being guarded by four magnificent dragons. I must post a photo of this bridge one day on my blog. :)

There is even an interesting legend about these bridge guardians and their tail waging activities...

William K Wallace 28 August 2011 at 22:31  

I think walking between all the dragons would make for a good sunday afternoon adventure. Loads of history and interesting sights to see...

Emm 30 August 2011 at 21:31  

@ Spiderdama: Hope you had a super weekend too! London is full of surprises like this.

@ Jg: Heh, glad you liked it!

@ Kiki: Me too! I also love dragons!

@ Kathy: I know! That map is super handy! What a brilliant page you have!

@ Li: It is filled with endless discovery. Then again, any city is. We thought Johannesburg was boring until we started poking about below the surface.

@ Marko: Gosh, that sounds fascinating! I cannot wait to visit there! You must definitely post a photo if you haven't done so already.

@ William: It would make a great walk! I look forward to seeing your photos of it!!

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry 31 August 2011 at 18:17  

how interesting!!

...can't get enough of london.

thanks, emm, for sharing. :)

big hugs!
betty xx

Dáithaí C 3 September 2011 at 10:11  

Well done! I always thought these were Griffins but then I checked and Miss Emm is right "The statues that mark the entrance to the City of London are sometimes mistaken for griffins, but are in fact (Tudor) dragons, the supporters of the city's arms. They are most easily distinguished from griffins by their membranous, rather than feathered, wings." Silly of me that I didn't realise Griffins have membranous wings!

The dragons facing outwards symbolise the independence of the City of London as a place apart with its own Lord Mayor and City government. Indeed when the Queen goes to St Paul's she stops at Temple Bar before entering the City of London, so that the Lord Mayor may offer him or her the City's pearl-encrusted Sword of State as a token of loyalty.

The dragons mark where there were originally gates into the city, the Temple Bar Gate was demolished and rebuilt in a park in Enfield but was re-erected in The City as part of the Paternoster Square development near St. Pauls.

AVCr8teur 5 September 2011 at 17:47  

I did not know this interesting fact. Have you seen all 10 or have your picture taken with all 10 dragons?

Emm 7 September 2011 at 08:43  

@ Betty: heh. I am trying to maintain my love and fascination for London! It gets a bit harder in autumn and winter!

@ Daithai: yup! I also thought they were griffins but they are true dragons.

@ Avc8teur: no, not yet. I didn't appreciate their significance until I began researching after I took the photo. I absolutely intend to take a walking tour of the route soon!

Life Ramblings 16 September 2011 at 16:14  

this is something new to me. thanks for sharing the information.

Tina 23 September 2011 at 09:37  

London seems so great. I went once about 11 years ago but as a tourist with no guide and no knowledge I didn't have so much as a good time as I had hoped. But seeing your entries each time makes me want to return.

Leonardo Armani 2 February 2012 at 22:20  

Nice post, I was looking for a map with all the Dragon's locations.

Here's another photo:
http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lyooscUNyR1row5ddo1_500.jpg

Hope you like it :)

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