musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Photo Essay: Dick Whittington and His Cat

Now when I was a wee lad in school, they told us a story about Dick Whittington’s Cat. I seem to vaguely remember that he became the Lord Mayor Of London (Dick Whittington, not the cat). Naturally old age has made me forget the whole story and frankly I do not recall it even after reading about it on Wikipedia.  

So why am I raising the subject? On the way to Highgate Cemetery from Archway Tube Station there is a long hill (appropriately called “Highgate Hill”) to climb, and at Google Earth co-ordinates  51° 33.993’N,   0° 8.211’W  you will find Dick Whittington’s Cat, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. 

I have to admit I was puzzled when I first saw it, but then the grey matter kicked in (briefly). 

The only real markings on the statue that I saw was a plaque,

and the stone that the cat is on has a worn engraving that I could not get a clear photograph of but which identifies this as the Whittington Stone.

Apparently, the Whittington Stone marks the spot where Dick Whittington is said to have heard the Bow Bells prophesying his good fortune: “Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London!”.  In fact there is a whole conflab about this humble moggy and the stone he is sitting on,  All I remember was Highgate Hill stretching endlessly in front of me. 

Out of curiosity, the Bow Bells are those of St Mary-Le-Bow near St Paul’s Cathedral, although whether you could hear them 6,5 kilometres away is debatable. According to tradition a true Cockney must be born within earshot of the sound of Bow Bells. Family lore says that my Grandmother was born in earshot of the bells (only 750 metres away).  

Actually I preferred the moggy I saw in Highgate Cemetery, he was much nicer looking anyway. Meow.

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