Well we can’t quite match Oz standards, but we have got two lions and one bear …
These are part of the “Animal Wall” of Cardiff Castle. I grew up knowing them as always being there without giving much thought as to the who, what, why, when or where of them. Pretty much as the buildings in Oxford are just part of Oxford to me and seeing them though the eyes of a friend who was visiting was an eye-opener.
The wall was originally designed by William Burgess for the Marquess of Bute in 1866 but it was not actually built until 1890, by his assistant William Frame. The nine animals were sculptured by Thomas Nicholls.
On my recent visit to Cardiff I saw the wall as a tourist would, locals and other tourists alike either waited or ducked underneath my camera as I snapped away at the wall, maybe seeing the animals properly for the first time.
I poked around online to find out more and apparently there were originally nine animals, sculptured in 1890; a hyena, a wolf, two apes, a seal, a bear, a lioness, a lynx and two lions.
The two lions sit on either side of one of the entrances to the castle grounds but it would appear that the other animals originally sat proudly on the wall in front of the castle. Progress demanded the road in front of the castle was widened in 1922 and so the wall was moved, complete with animals to the left of the two lions. In 1931 the original nine animals were joined by another six, and there’s recently been some restoration done but I’ll show you the other six and tell you more tomorrow.
More from before : various visits to “Cardiff” .