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Paul Tanner Photography Blog

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A Wedding in Reading, and the Legend of the Forbury Lion

The occasion: Sam and Den’s awesome wedding in Reading. 

The scene: Forbury Gardens, Reading. Home to the Maiwand or ‘Forbury’ Lion of 1889. An enormous and imposing beast (one of the largest cast-iron Lions in the world). Standing 20’ in the air atop the Maiwand War memorial, built to commemorate those British soldiers lost during the Battle of Maiwand on 27th July 1880 in Afghanistan.

According to local sources, (Sam, the bride) legend has it that sculptor George Blackall Simonds took his own life, hanging himself from the tail of his beast, when told his Lion had the gait of a domestic cat and not that of the King of the Jungle.

A sad tale, giving the park a sombre air. But what a place for photos!

All I needed was some gorgeous people, a cute 19th Century bandstand and some stunning late summer sun, and luckily that's what I got.

According to wikipedia, the Lion’s gait is perfectly correct and G. B. Simonds lived another 43 years after this cast-iron triumph. Phew