It’s St George’s Day, so in honour of the old dragon-slayer, here are five London dragons that dodged his saintly sword. (Dragon-slaying should only be attempted by trained professionals under controlled conditions. Do not attempt to slay these or any other dragons.)
1. Komodo dragons, London Zoo
These real-life ‘dragons’ from Indonesia (top) arrived in the capital in 2004. The reptiles can grow up to three metres in length, and although they can’t shoot flames from their nostrils, they do have poison-laced saliva – so don’t kiss them.
1. The Temple Bar dragon
This gothic-style statue stands over the Temple Bar Memorial on Fleet Street at the point where the City meets Westminster. It’s one of a ring of dragon boundary markers around the whole City.
3. The Chinatown gates
The iron gates in front of each arch on Gerrard Street have a frenzy of ironwork depicting a dancing, fire-spitting Chinese dragon in all its glory.
4. Holborn Viaduct
There are several red dragons on the underside of this Victorian bridge. They’re also dotted around lampposts on the road above, and the beasts support coats of arms on either side of the structure.
5. ‘St George and the Dragon’, National Gallery
Last but not least, our patron saint also graces this list. As medieval art goes, this 1470 painting by Paolo Uccello is a particularly gruesome one. It depicts England’s patron saint slaying a plague-bearing dragon which had kidnapped a princess. Will Coldwell