Castle Street
Cardiff CF10 3RB
Glamorgan
 
 
 
One of the most photographed landmarks in the Welsh capital city of Cardiff is a bizarre wall. A variety of sculpted creatures appear to have been caught in the act of escaping over the wall.
 
The Animal Wall was created as part of the 3rd Marquess of Bute’s extensive restoration of Cardiff Castle. His architect, William Burgess designed the wall in 1866 and work commenced in the 1880s. Unfortunately Burgess died before it was completed but William Frame completed the job using Burgess’s original drawings. The wall was more or less completed in 1892.
 
The original wall was located directly in front of the Castle and was decorated with just nine animals chosen by Lord Bute. The original figures sculpted by Thomas Nicholls, were a hyena, a wolf, a pair of monkeys, a seal, a bear, a lioness, a lynx, and two different lions. They were given glass eyes and painted in naturalistic colours, although since then the paint work on the sculptures has been removed.
 
A decision to widen the road in 1922 meant that the wall had to be moved about 60 feet (50 metres) west to its present location outside Bute Park. In 1931 the wall was extended to accommodate another six sculptures. Alexander Carrick sculpted a pelican, an anteater, racoons, a leopard, a beaver and a vulture. Stylistically these are different and did not have the glass eyes of the originals.
 
Many generations of Cardiff children have been terrified and delighted by the creatures on the wall. In the 1930s the wall inspired a children’s book which became very popular. The story’s characters included William the seal, Priscilla the pelican, Martha and Oscar the monkeys, Larry the lynx and Romulus and Remus the two lions.
 
As part of the Bute Park Restoration Project, in 2010 the wall and its creatures underwent extensive cleaning, repair and conservation. To know more about this Grade 1 listed park follow this link go to  Web:  Bute Park Restoration
 
 
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