It is easy to miss London’s minor attractions if you don’t look closely as the city is filled with so many amazing yet small attractions.
Having said that, did you know that the tiniest bar in the world is located in a pub in Hammersmith? Did you know the tragic tale behind the smallest statue in London?
From art history luminaries such as Barbara Hepworth and Eduardo Paolozzi to a park full of weird reptiles, London has everything in terms of public sculptures.
You will come across a lot of sculptures, usually big, when you roam around the city, but did you know the smallest statue in London is actually a two mice statue?
Well, this guide will tell you in detail about the smallest statue in London, where it is located, the theory behind it, and a little more about other small statues in London.
- 1 Where Is The Smallest Statue In London?
- 2 What Is The Theory Behind The Smallest Statue of London?
- 3 Can You Find The Smallest Statue Easily?
- 4 14 Of The Smallest Statues In London
- 4.1 1. The Two Mice Eating Cheese – Philpot Lane:
- 4.2 2. Pegasus and Bellerophon – Embankment Gardens:
- 4.3 3. The Griffin – Inner Temple Gardens:
- 4.4 4. The Little Eros – Piccadilly Circus:
- 4.5 5. Bellerophon Taming Pegasus – Temple Bar:
- 4.6 6. Wellington’s Boots – Aldersgate Street:
- 4.7 7. Old Father Thames – St. Magnus the Martyr Churchyard:
- 4.8 8. The Little Urchin – Exchange Court:
- 4.9 9. The Camden Town Group Plaque – Mornington Crescent:
- 4.10 10. The Chained Books – Great Ormond Street:
- 4.11 11. The Teddy Bear – Bond Street:
- 4.12 12. The Charing Cross Sphinx – Charing Cross Station:
- 4.13 13. The Golden Boy of Pye Corner – Smithfield:
- 4.14 14. The Donkey – Vauxhall:
- 5 Are There Any Other Smallest Statues In London?
Where Is The Smallest Statue In London?
The smallest statue in London is actually a Two Mice Statue, located in the historic core of the capital, close to the northern end of London Bridge, lies a little street called ‘Philpot Lane.’
Philpot Lane connects Eastcheap and Fenchurch Street; it was named after Sir John Philpot, the Lord Mayor of London from 1378 to 1379.
These two little mice are located halfway up a building on the southeastern side of Philpot Lane, close to the intersection with Eastcheap.
Who produced these creatures and how they were introduced here remain essentially unknown. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: these two tiny mice are a tribute to two adjacent builders who perished.
The construction crew in question was working on “The Monument,” a high column located 400 feet from Philpot Lane at the intersection of Fish Street Hill and Monument Street.
The Monument was constructed between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London, which devastated a large portion of the city a few years earlier.
At some time during the construction of the Monument, the two workers previously described sat down to eat their packed lunch of cheese and bread.
Evidently having a passion for heights, the two men, who were apparently good friends, were satisfied to sit on a high scaffold at their business (health and safety were nonexistent in those days).
Workers on the Monument were not even obliged to wear hard hats and high-visibility clothing!
However, something was not right as one of the men’s sandwiches was almost all consumed.
The victim of this food thievery quickly blamed his sitting companion and a brawl ensued, which was unwise given their elevated position.
Following an exchange of blows, the unlucky pair lost their balance and fell to their deaths.
Later, after similar abductions of bread and cheese, the true perpetrators were identified: A population of microscopic mice.
Sir Christopher Wren, one of London’s greatest architects, was responsible for its construction.
The Monument, a testament to Sir Wren’s brilliance, remains the tallest, most solitary stone pillar in the world.
What Is The Theory Behind The Smallest Statue of London?
The story of the sculpture begins at the Monument to the Great Fire of London in the 17th century.
During the years 1671 to 1677, two men worked on the construction site. One day, they perched 62 meters above the city on the scaffolding in preparation for their lunch break.
It is believed that the two men were buddies before one of them became distraught over his stolen cheese sandwich.
The man turned to his pal and accused his coworker of taking his lunch.
According to witnesses, the debate evolved into a full-fledged brawl, and both men fell to their deaths after losing their balance.
Tragically, it was ultimately determined that the offenders were mice.
To honor the two buddies, a little statue was erected. So the next time you’re having a rough day at work, spare a thought for the men who were killed by cheese sandwiches.
Hence, the real hypothesis is that the sculptures of the mice and cheese were erected to commemorate these individuals, however, the veracity of this account has been contested and the timings have been questioned.
Yet, the inquisitive animals remain, munching on their tiny reward.
Can You Find The Smallest Statue Easily?
The statue is quite difficult to locate if you do not know where to search.
The address of the building is Eastcheap, however, the tiny mice are located on Philpot. So, look up for these tiny violet rodents if you intend on exploring them.
14 Of The Smallest Statues In London
1. The Two Mice Eating Cheese – Philpot Lane:
In the heart of the financial district, tucked away on Philpot Lane near the Monument to the Great Fire of London, stands a whimsical bronze sculpture depicting two mice devouring a piece of cheese.
This delightful artwork is an homage to a legend surrounding the construction of the nearby monument.
According to the tale, two workers engaged in a heated argument over a missing cheese sandwich, only to discover that mice were the true culprits. The sculpture captures this lighthearted tale and adds a touch of whimsy to the bustling city streets.
2. Pegasus and Bellerophon – Embankment Gardens:
Nestled within the lush greenery of Embankment Gardens lies a hidden gem: a miniature bronze sculpture portraying the mythological Pegasus, the winged horse, carrying the hero Bellerophon.
The intricate details of this enchanting artwork transport viewers back to the world of ancient Greek mythology. It serves as a reminder of the enduring fascination with mythical creatures and heroic tales.
3. The Griffin – Inner Temple Gardens:
Within the peaceful confines of Inner Temple Gardens, an oasis of calm close to the River Thames, a majestic bronze statue of a Griffin can be found.
The Griffin, with its lion’s body and eagle’s head, has long been a symbol of guardianship and protection.
This miniature sculpture, perched amidst the tranquil surroundings, exudes an air of mystery and invites visitors to contemplate its symbolism and significance.
4. The Little Eros – Piccadilly Circus:
Amidst the vibrant energy of Piccadilly Circus, an unexpected sight awaits observant visitors. Tucked away on a lamppost, you’ll find a diminutive bronze version of the iconic Eros statue.
The Little Eros pays homage to its larger counterpart, which stands atop a fountain in the heart of the bustling square.
This charming miniature sculpture adds a touch of whimsy to the energetic atmosphere of one of London’s most famous landmarks.
5. Bellerophon Taming Pegasus – Temple Bar:
Atop the imposing entrance gate to Paternoster Square, known as Temple Bar, you’ll discover an intricate stone carving depicting Bellerophon taming the mythical winged horse Pegasus.
The sculpture, adorned with meticulous details, pays tribute to the historical significance of the site as the boundary marking the entrance to the City of London.
This exquisite artwork is a testament to the city’s rich history and its reverence for mythical tales.
6. Wellington’s Boots – Aldersgate Street:
A hidden gem in the heart of the city, on Aldersgate Street, awaits a charming bronze sculpture depicting the Duke of Wellington’s boots.
These boots pay homage to the renowned military leader, Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, who famously defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo.
The intricately crafted boots serve as a reminder of the Duke’s significant contributions to British history.
7. Old Father Thames – St. Magnus the Martyr Churchyard:
In the atmospheric St. Magnus the Martyr Churchyard, near London Bridge, you’ll come across a small statue of Old Father Thames.
This weathered stone figure represents the personification of the River Thames and has long been associated with the city’s maritime heritage.
The statue stands as a testament to the enduring importance of the river and its deep connection to London’s history and culture.
8. The Little Urchin – Exchange Court:
Nestled in Exchange Court, just off the bustling streets of Covent Garden, a charming bronze sculpture of a young urchin can be found.
The Little Urchin, with its ragged clothes and cheeky smile, captures the spirit of a bygone era when the area was known for its vibrant street life.
This small but evocative statue provides a glimpse into the rich history and characters that once populated the streets of Covent Garden.
9. The Camden Town Group Plaque – Mornington Crescent:
Celebrating the influential Camden Town Group of artists, a small blue plaque can be found near Mornington Crescent Underground station.
The plaque commemorates the group’s formation in 1911 and their contribution to the development of British modern art.
Though modest in size, this plaque serves as a reminder of the creative spirit that has shaped the artistic landscape of London.
10. The Chained Books – Great Ormond Street:
Nestled within the grounds of Great Ormond Street Hospital, renowned for its pediatric care, stands a touching sculpture of three bronze books bound by chains.
The Chained Books symbolize the power of knowledge and education in the pursuit of healing and wellbeing.
This heartfelt statue stands as a tribute to the hospital’s commitment to providing compassionate care to young patients.
11. The Teddy Bear – Bond Street:
On Bond Street, known for its luxury boutiques and high-end fashion, there is a small bronze statue of a teddy bear.
This charming sculpture pays tribute to the famous British author A.A. Milne and his beloved character Winnie-the-Pooh.
The bear sits contentedly on a park bench, inviting visitors to reminisce about childhood memories and the enduring power of storytelling.
12. The Charing Cross Sphinx – Charing Cross Station:
Within the bustling Charing Cross Station, you can find two small sphinx statues guarding the entrance to the station.
These granite sphinxes were placed there in the 19th century as part of the construction of the station. Their presence adds an air of mystique and historical significance to the busy transport hub.
13. The Golden Boy of Pye Corner – Smithfield:
In the Smithfield area, near the intersection of Giltspur Street and Cock Lane, stands a small golden statue known as the Golden Boy of Pye Corner.
This gilded figure represents a symbol of good fortune and serves as a reminder of the Great Fire of London in 1666.
It marks the spot where the fire was finally extinguished, and its presence commemorates the city’s resilience and rebirth.
14. The Donkey – Vauxhall:
Located near Vauxhall Station, a delightful bronze statue of a donkey can be found.
The sculpture pays homage to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, a popular entertainment venue in the 18th century. Donkeys were a common sight in the gardens, carrying visitors on leisurely rides.
This whimsical statue captures the spirit of those bygone days of entertainment and leisure.
Are There Any Other Smallest Statues In London?
A number of sculptures have been put across the City of London, establishing an art installation trail that brings together a roster of prominent artists from around the world.
Recently, a one-of-a-kind sculpture trail has been installed in the Square Mile to urge City employees, residents, and visitors to go on a voyage of discovery to learn the various layers of the shared past of London.
Eleven artists have placed new works in 2022. These additional sculptures join the six sculptures that remained from the previous iteration.
The sculptures along the route vary in shape, material, and dimensions. If we talk about the smallest sculptures, these little statues are put at each entry to the square mile of the City of London.
The dragon boundary signs can also be found made of cast-iron dragon statues on steel or stone plinths that define the City of London’s borders.
The design is inspired by two dragon sculptures that were mounted over the entrance to the Lower Thames Street Coal Exchange.
In 2022, the officials collaborated with Bloomberg to develop an app that enables guests to interact remotely with the sculptures.