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Pearly John: Why it’s time to mend our moggy statue

‘King’ calls for weathered Whittington cat landmark to be restored

30 July, 2021 — By Sadie Andrew

Pearly King John Walters with the worn cat statue

WITH bits of its ears missing, it’s a cat that looks like it has been in quite a scrap.

And yet the stone puss in Highgate Hill is meant to be a landmark with an important tale from London’s history.

John Walters, the Pearly King of Finsbury, is now calling for the Whittington cat statue in Archway to be restored.

He said: “When people are driving up and down, what do they see? Black, flaky railings. They see some cat there with his eyes blacked out, two ears broken off and a dirty old stone.”

The cat was installed in 1964 close to the Whittington Stone (below), which had been in place since 1821. It marks the site in the old folk story where Dick Whittington heard the Bow Bells ringing, predicting his good fortune: “Turn again Whittington, Thrice Lord mayor of London.”

Mr Walters, who has lived in the borough all of his life, said: “The Pearly Kings care about London. We see it as a responsibility that we should look after our memorials, our statues and anything of interest to the local boroughs.”

He compared the new statue of Bob the Street Cat on Islington Green, unveiled last week, which people flocked to see last week.

Mr Walters added: “Without Richard Whittington, we wouldn’t have the mayors of London that we have, so it’s a vested interest for everybody to take an active role in maintaining small memorials for the history and culture of London. I don’t like seeing it like this for all of them. We should have a bit more respect.”


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