Back in Time: Story behind Market Square’s famous lions

Market Square, Aylesbury, 1890
Market Square, Aylesbury, 1890

Following on from last week’s view of Market Square without the Clock Tower here is a view from the bottom of the square in about 1890.

This shows the first monuments to be added - the two bronze lions in front of Old County Hall.

In a letter to the Aylesbury Local Board of Health in August 1887 Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild stated that he wished to present the lions to the town as a gift. They originally stood on his lawn at Waddesdon Manor in front of the Oak Avenue and they apparently cost him a considerable amount of money.

The offer was gratefully accepted by the Board and they then had to decide where to put them.

The Bucks Infirmary (later the Royal Bucks Hospital) was originally suggested as an ideal site but after a few weeks Market Square gained favour.

In January 1888 the lions were transported separately from Waddesdon Manor via steam roller.

Today they look almost as good as they did 127 years ago.

If they are well looked after they will last another 100 years or so.