As it’s approaching Christmas, this week’s curiosity has a panto connection. The Whittington Stone is situated on Highgate Hill in-between Archway Station and the Whittington hospital. It almost goes unnoticed perched on the pavement as people and buses whiz by.
The story of Dick Whittington is based on Richard Whittington, a wealthy merchant and philanthropist, originally from Gloucester. He served as Lord Mayor of London between 1397 and 1420. The tale goes that Dick went to London to find his fortune and bought a cat to keep the rats away. Before Dick’s cat could earn him his fame and fortune Dick decided to leave London.
Archway is supposed to be the place that Dick Whittington heard the Bow Bells ringing and returned to London. According to the tale once he returns to London Dick sells his cat for a fortune, marries and becomes Mayor.
This stone monument is engraved with the dates that Richard Whittington was Mayor and the cat sculpture was later added to the top in the 1960s. The pub that stands next to it is named after the stone.
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