The Beasts of Bloomsbury

The Restoration of the Lion and Unicorn Sculptures of St George’s, Bloomsbury

For many years, a masterpiece of English Baroque Architecture had languished forgotten and decaying in Central London. This is the Church of St George’s Bloomsbury, designed by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor in the early 18th Century.

Selected by the World Monuments Fund as one of the hundred most endangered sites of global architectural significance, money was raised for its restoration, principally as a result of a generous initial donation by the Paul Mellon Fund which funded the essential structural repairs.

But perhaps the most remarkable and unusual aspect of the restoration is the replacement of the four monumental sculptures that originally clustered around the base of the spire.

In 1871 the four lions and unicorns that originally clung to the base of the highly distinctive stepped spire at St. George’s had to be removed due to their dangerous dereliction.

As part of the restoration, these extraordinary sculptures have been recreated and restored to the building.

The Cambridge based Architectural Carvers and Stonemasons, Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey Ltd (now Fairhaven Stone Ltd), were selected to undertake this unique project, headed by the Sculptor Tim Crawley who in 1998 carved the Modern Martyrs for Westminster Abbey.

St George's Bloomsbury before restoration
First stone being installed

The first stone is laid

The most complex part of the restoration of St. George’s reaches its final stage as the first stone carving is fixed into position on the

The restoration of St George's Bloomsbury

Restoration work

The restoration work at St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury, London comprises full stone repair and light cleaning to the external envelope, the reinstatement of stone steps