National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Rugby Union Lion


Type Sculpture

     Standing gilded lion at the top of tall stone pier to the left hand side of the entrance gates to the Stadium. Head turned to the right with mouth open. Inside face of the pier - near the base and above the inscribed stone panel - is fitted with an oval bronze plaque bearing the profile of Sir John Rowland Hill surrounded by a border of leaves with a bouquet of leaves and a bow beneath, the ribbons draping down over the panel below.
     Modelled by Woodington for Coade & Sealy in 1837 and purchased from the factory in the same year by the Brewery which stood on Belvedere Road nearby. One of several lions owned by the Brewery which was moved when the site was cleared for the Festival of Britain in the 1950s. (See inscription on panel for history of transfer to present site.) Larger lion was re-erected on Westminster Bridge, and the smaller, originally paired with the one moved to Twickenham Rugby Stadium, was destroyed. Rowland Hill Gate was moved with its lion to another part of the grounds when the site was re-developed in 1994.
     Symbol of the Lion Brewery, Lambeth where it once stood until 1948.


On pier, outside face: ERECTED IN MEMORY OF/SIR GEORGE ROWLAND HILL/WHO DEVOTED HIS LIFE/TO THE SERVICE OF OUR GAME/THROUGHOUT THE BRITISH EMPIRE/1929 Inside face, on rectangular stone panel below oval medallion: SIR GEORGE/ROWLAND HILL/1855.1928/RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION/COMMITTEE 1879.1928/HONORARY SECRETARY 1881.1904/PRESIDENT 1904.1907/(followed by a rose - emblem of English Rugby) On bronze plaque below stone inscription, inside face: "This lion made of Coade's artificial stone stood infront of the Lion Brewery, Lambeth from 1837 to 1948 when the site was cleared for the building of the Royal Festival Hall. It was preserved - with the lion now standing on Westminster Bridge - at the express wish of King George IV. Presented on behalf of the Greater London Council to mark the centenary of the Rugby Football Union by Sir Desmond Plummer, Leader of the Council - April 1972.

Related works : Coade Stone Lion, Westminster Bridge

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Coade & Sealy Manufactory, None Other

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Lion Coade stone (gilded) 120 cms (h) x 150 cms (w) [approx.]
Medallion Bronze 103 cms (h) x 72 cms (w) x 6.5 cms (d)
Inscription panel Stone (Portland ?) 135 cms (h) x 96 cms (w) x 9 cms (d)

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
Structural condition
  • None
Road Whitton Road
Precise location Rowland Hill Memorial Gates, Rugby Union Headquarters
A-Z ref p. 7, K3
OS ref None

Sorry, we have no precise geographical information for this item.

Date of design 1837
Year of unveiling 1972
Unveiling details April 1972
Commissioned by None
Duty of care Rugbu Union Headguarters
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

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