Most of the 1,500 monuments scattered around London are dedicated to individuals who carried out heroic deeds in the service of the Crown. Others applaud the achievements of persons in the fields of arts or sciences. However, there is one unorthodox statue dedicated to a furry, famous Londoner who once walked on four legs.
In the south-east corner of a park in the borough of Islington, lies a life-size bronze of a cat named Bob, who rests perched on a stack of books. This feline was immortalized in a series of novels written by his adopted owner, James Bowen. These two individuals were able to look after one another, and in turn, their lives became the stuff of legend.
Bowen published the first book of their adventures together in 2012. The story of how this wayward grimalkin was able to help the busker overcome homelessness and drug dependency has warmed the hearts of many. In 2016, the first novel, A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life was made into a film. A series of five more books followed. Bob passed away at the age of 14 in 2020.
In 2021, British artist Tanya Russell, who is known for her animal sculptures, was commissioned to depict Bob wearing his signature scarf. There is also a pink granite bench with a quote from Mr. Bowen: “He is my companion, my best friend, my teacher and my soulmate. And he will remain all of those things. Always”.
The dedication ceremony took place across the street from the Waterstones bookshop where Bowen would write. He had this to say at the time: “My hope is that when people visit Bob’s statue, or as they simply pass by, that they will take a moment to remember that everyone deserves a second chance and that no-one is alone.”
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