Art Design People

Victoria Embankment Gardens Temple Section London + Statues

Midday in the Garden of Good

In the days when people were good, statues were erected in their honour. Next to London’s joint quietest Tube Station (it shares that honour with Pimlico), the Temple Section of Victoria Embankment Gardens is a strip of welcome verdancy. A mere 40 by 100 metres, it still manages to accommodate a trio of statues dedicated to the good of Victorian times. Educator William Edward Foster stands closest to Temple Tube Station. At the far end, thinker John Stuart Mill appears to float as encroaching greenery has all but hidden his plinth. In the middle of the parklet is a memorial to temperance promoter Lady Henry Somerset. It takes the form of a girl holding out what looks like a begging bowl. Her arms outstretched, she bears a passing resemblance to the Bird Girl statue of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. Through the trees can be glimpsed a contemporary statue balanced high on a pedestal outside British American Tobacco’s Globe House. Perhaps the patron saint of smoking?