In my lifetime, this lion has always stood here, on the South Bank, outside County Hall, the old home of the GLC.
According to its inscription it was once the emblem of a brewery that was bombed in the war and was moved to its current location after the end of the war.
My Dad once told me a story about the Lion that I think is quite amazing. It was made from fake stone rather than real stone. That is certainly true because the plaque at its base says so. The extraordinary thing is this stone is supposed to be completely impossible to erode. Even more amazing is no-one knows how it was done. The scientist who invented it died shortly after and took the Lion’s secret formula to his grave with him.
It always seems to me to be a really powerful symbol, both in itself and also in the fact that it has this deep secret that cannot be unlocked. It’s link with science is an apt symbol for my day today.
My day took me into the very heart of London today, that city that I love and hate with almost equal passions. I attended a conference designed to explain how the new code of advertising practice for medicines in this country will work and more importantly how it differs from the old code. It was held in a wonderful building, the home of the Institute for Civil Engineers. Whenever I attend one of these meetings I am shocked and delighted at what is behind the (often plain) facades of these great buildings in the heart of our city.
This one was no exception, an architecturally magnificent building that isn’t open to the public so only privileged folks like myself ever get to see the insides. I do feel truly honoured to be able to see such places.
The conference itself was surprisingly lively and we had quite a good day. I have to speak at conferences myself quite often and so I feel I have a good feel for how confident and competent the speakers are. Today, the first speaker was pretty good in as much as he really knew his stuff. It’s so easy though to get tripped up. He said at one point ‘there are a number of changes to the European Law in this area and these will take about a year and a half to work their way into our law. That means they should be fully in place by 1995 at the latest’!!! How funny!
The second speaker did an equally funny one – he said ‘so are we just more of the same…or is this something new? And the answer to that question is both yes and no.’ Er – but it wasn’t a dichotomous question!
I took the photo of the Lion on my way back to the station to go to another meeting this afternoon and it occurred to me that I liked it too because of being a Leo Lion myself.
For someone so cynical, I am surprisingly superstitious. I believe in my horoscope, I think I’m a very typical Leo - loyal, proud, stubborn, full of life. I also believe that I’m a typical Rat, my Chinese sign – again this has loyalty at its core and quick-wittedness. I’m also a Saturday’s child - work VERY hard for my living. Oh and if I only see one magpie on the way to a footie game I get very nervous….and black cats? Don’t start me on that one – they’re regarded as good here but bad in the USA……
Yee ha - for those that care, Spurs have won 2-4 away at Charlton tonight! Only 5 points from that European slot now!
STOP PRESS: My Dad tells me the Lion was moved from the concourse of Waterloo Station DURING my lifetime!