This magnificent beast makes a fittingly regal guardian of Westminster Bridge. He was one of two Lions that once flanked he entrance to the old Lion Brewery along the river.
The brewery was destroyed in the Blitz, but this lion is a true survivor because he is constructed from a mysterious substance, fittingly known as Coadestone: the secret formula now lost…
This miracle material was the creation of Mrs Eleanor Coade. Her invention was highly prized because it could be easily mixed like plaster, delicately moulded & sculpted like clay: then set granite-hard in a kiln. This was especially appealing to the Georgians in the building industry who loved their elegant ‘Gothick’ flourishes. Our lion is testament to the durability of the substance as after almost two centuries of Blitz, relocation & exposure, he still looks as meticulously detailed as when he first emerged from the oven.
There are many other wonderful Coadestone statues around The Lost Valley that I look forward to encountering in future stories. As for Eleanor Coade… When she died in 1821, she took the secret of Coadestone with her to the grave.
Though ‘artificial stone’ such as this is well-doccumented (a form of terracotta combining ground pre-fired clay, sand, glass & stone). Miss Eleanor Code’s own particularly beautiful, near-indestructible formula has never been rediscovered… It seems like the mystery of Coadestone will never be cracked… The South Bank Lion’s not telling!