Posted by: musinganorak | July 1, 2010

London Elephant Parade

Over the past few weeks the streets of London have been invaded by elephants. Not real ones, obviously, as you’d have heard about that on the news. These were model elephants, the size of a baby Asian Elephant Elephas maximus, and each one was decorated. There were 258 of them distributed throughout the city with the purpose of highlighting the plight of, and raising funds for the protection of, Asian Elephants. In a couple of days time they are being auctioned off.

I remember hearing something about the event back at the start of the year but had completely forgotten about it until I stumbled across my first one in the foyer of Coutts Bank on The Strand.

Now the thing is I like elephants in quite a big way, and as you know now I like ticking things off on lists. I think you get the picture!

I spent many enjoyable hours traversing London searching them all out. Some were easy, others a bit more difficult to track down. There were those in large groups, some were solitary individuals down obscure back streets, some elephants were outside and others were placed in an indoor environment. It proved to be an excellent way of discovering new parts of the city and a good excuse to revisit other parts.

Last weekend all of the elephants were brought together for one last hurrah. The indoor elephants were gathered at Westfield shopping centre and all of the outdoor elephants were in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. We paid them all one last visit on the Friday and they were a truly impressive sight.

It was at Chelsea that I caught up with the one elephant that had eluded me. Number 57 was a seated elephant that had been covered in turf. Unfortunately the turf started to die and become unsightly so it was taken away to be “returfed” this time using artificial grass. Every time I went to see if it had returned I was confronted with the stand in plain green elephant. At Chelsea, though, there it was!

So that was it. I’d seen them all. Or had I?

Reading the various postings on Facebook it transpired that one of the elephants had originally had a different colour scheme. Another had first appeared without the mirrors that I saw it with. And number 57 had originally been real grass, not artificial. And then the organisers announced elephant number 259 which was going on display at Glastonbury Festival and wouldn’t appear in London at all!

So despite seeing 258 elephants and having a couple of the best weekends I’ve ever had in London part of me still “stresses” at the ones that “got away.” I hate an incomplete list!

Never mind, I’ve just read that the streets of Hull are about to be invaded by 1m high toads, and I haven’t done the KC Stadium yet, so maybe it’s time for a trip North to combine the two……

More information about the Elephant Parade can be found here.


  1. I just knew I shouldn’t have bothered

  2. This was one of the best events of the year and well worthy of a list!

  3. One went “missing” from Green Park overnight, with just an empty plinth there in the morning

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