Last Week’s Weekend Elephants are to be found on the memorial to Frederick Courteney Selous, inside the Natural History Museum.
It can be found at the top of the stairs, to the left, in the main hall.
The memorial was sculpted by W. Robert Colton RA.
The panel beneath features various African game animals including lions and of course two elephants.
Here they are in close-up.
Selous is often described as the last “Great White Hunter”, he was certainly a man of his time. It is difficult now to have any sympathy for a hunter who is reputed to have killed many hundreds of elephants, and other animals, for sport and profit. In the late 19th and early 20th Century though he was something of a hero and is said to have inspired Rider Haggard’s character of Allan Quatermain. He was also a friend of another famous hunter Theodore Roosevelt.
The memorial was unveiled at the Natural History Museum in 1920. Selous had sent many specimens to the museum over the years and had bequeathed his collection of trophies and skins to them. Later in life Selous was one of the first people to warn about the exploitation of wild animals, largely because of the consequent reduction in game for him to shoot at.
Other memorials to him include the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, the Selous mongoose and Selous Street in Harlesden, North London.
The only person to come near to locating these diminutive elephants was Peter H. of Surbiton who works in Kensington. By his own admission Peter guessed “Natural History Museum” but he hadn’t actually noticed the elephants on the memorial. Congratulations are still due on account of your powers of deduction!
This week’s Weekend Elephant will be published, as ever, on Friday.
Readers will then have the whole weekend to email the precise location to me. The first person to identify each weekend’s elephant is always rewarded with a glorious mention sometime on Monday when the location is officially revealed.
If you would like to nominate an elephant for future inclusion please drop me a line; all publicly visible, permanent or semi-permanent, London-based elephants, regardless of size, medium or location will be considered!
The author of this blog is a qualified City of Westminster Tour Guide who runs unique walking tours throughout London, see tabs for details.