Beware the Heraldic Beasts

As you wander the staircases of Leeds Central Library you can’t help but notice the lions and dogs carved into the ends of the stair railings.  There are various lions and dogs in different poses including one of a lion sitting majestic in a stance reminiscent of the ones guarding the neighbouring Leeds Town Hall to two beasts appearing to argue over which ones gets the latest books first!

Magnificent lion on the stairs
Magnificent lion on the stairs

From the first floor up there are matching lions and dogs on each staircase however because the right hand staircase was redirected to face Centenary Street during the construction of the municipal buildings, the first dog you meet on the ground floor in the atrium has no matching pair on the alternate staircase.

The emaciated beasts
The emaciated beasts

One thing they all have in common is their emaciated appearance with protruding rib cages and prominent spines.  As a child growing up in Leeds I always heard stories about the Town Hall Lions getting up for a wander around Victoria Gardens as the Town Hall clock struck midnight, I can’t help but wonder if the Library heraldic beasts looked on enviously unable to leave their posts in search of food.

Arguing on the stairs
Arguing on the stairs
Sitting in splendour
Sitting in splendour


Come and see how many lions and dogs you can find on our magnificent staircases in the Central Library.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    Does anyone know what happened to the missing one? When, and where, did it go?

    1. rosegibson says:

      Hello John. The missing one from the third floor has probably been gone about 10 years but unfortunately we don’t know what happened to it.

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