Six Real Dragons that Roam the Streets of London
1. Temple Bar Dragon
Species: Heraldicus Londoniensi
Size: I reckon he's about 3 metres high (10 feet) but it's hard to tell because he's a long way up in the air.
Habitat: Stands in the middle of Fleet Street and marks the westernmost entrance to the City of London.
Spotter's Notes: I've been down Fleet Street millions of times but I only noticed this statue quite recently. Clearly I am not very observant, at least above eye level. Yeah, I know this is backlit – I did take another shot from a different angle but it came out blurry. Passers-by were jostling me, that's all I can say (hem hem).
2. The Common Street Dragon of Old London Town
Species: Silverius Shinii
Size: About 60 cm (2 feet)
Habitat: On High Holborn, hence the sign and the scenic half-timbered building.
Spotter's Notes: All the major roads leading into the City of London are marked with dragons (because two of them appear on the City of London coat of arms), and most of them are little and look like this one, rather than the big impressive one above. Still, I quite like them. Better than a Starbucks sign, anyhow.
3. Lesser Red Dragon
Species: Scarlatticus Scarlatticus
Size: About 30 cm (1 foot)
Habitat: Perches in pairs on Holborn Viaduct.
Spotter's Notes: Holborn Viaduct is a patch of colour in a fairly dull and grey area, and has lots of over-the-top twiddliness of the sort that the Victorians loved. I do like it, but I wish they'd tart up the concrete clutter that surrounds it.
4. Chinatown Dragon
Species: Monosodia Glutamatus
Size: 1 metre (over 3 feet)
Habitat: Perches above the entrances to Chinese restaurants, feeding on leftover dim sum and the occasional unwary tourist.
Spotter's Notes: I went to Chinatown expecting to see lots of dragons: in fact I only noticed two. But since I saw the silly sign too, I don't really mind.
5. Decorative Gate Dragon
Species: Trespassus Keepouticus
Size: Over 2 metres high (about 7 feet), 3 metres long (10 feet).
Habitat: Green Dragon House, just off High Holborn.
Spotter's Notes: I passed by this rather stylish gate several times in a couple of days, hoping that they would close it properly so you could get the full effect. This is as good as I could do in the end. Meanwhile, I'm sure the residents from that block of flats think I must be stalking someone who lives there, so if I get arrested now, you know what happened....
6. Toy Dragon
Species: Plasticus Playmobilii
Size: 20 cm (8 inches)
Habitat: Department store windows, but also makes an ideal domestic pet.
Spotter's Notes: Sorry, crap reflections again. But I couldn't resist. Hee.