5 July 2011

Christian The Lion: Reunion

The furniture shop was on the King's Road in London. It sold tables, wardrobes, chairs and desks - but anybody peering through its plate-glass window on a Sunday might have noticed something rather more unusual. Amid all the pine and oak, stretched out languidly on a bench, there was a lion. And it wasn't stuffed.

"Christian used to lie beside me while I did the accounts at weekends," remembers Jennifer Mary Taylor, who worked there.
"And every so often, if I'd ignored him for too long, he'd sock me across the head with one of his great big paws.
"He was very loving and affectionate - he liked to stand and put his paws on your shoulders. But he was...", she pauses. "I mean, he was a lion. Does that sound silly?"

Christian the lion arrived in Chelsea at a time when the King's Road was the very heart of the Swinging Sixties. For a year, the big cat was part of it all, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at Casserole, a local restaurant, even posing for a Biba fashion advert. He eventually grew too big to be kept as a pet and was taken to Kenya, where he was rehabilitated into the wild by the 'Lion Man', George Adamson.


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