First published September 5 2015

This in from Bill Knox who found the Press Photo History Project searching to improve an image of his Dad taken by Planet News agency around 1949.

“I don’t know if you can help me, I have attached a picture of my dad sitting on the lion after it was taken down from the Lion Brewery to make way for the Festival of Britain approx. 1949.On the left hand side of the photo just over half way down you can see the words “Planet News” and over on the right hand side of the photo the word “London”, the heading of the photo is “Brewers Fancy”, Would your organisation know if there is a better photo available.”

The photo archive of Planet News is held by various photo agencies  – we have sent the image to these. If you have any information or Planet News files and can help please email me [email protected]

UPDATE 27 Oct 2015

This in from Topfoto who ran a search for the image in their archives:
Not able to find an exact match for this request they have managed to find a timeline for the Lion.
Planet / INP / UPI all merged about 1950. The neg. references I had were for INP. Sadly most of the first half of 1949 of Planet News seems to missing. There could be some prints around but we don’t have one.
It is an interesting story and goes well with the Elephant of Elephant and Castle you asked for which was also a Planet News. The images I found are

The big lion (made in 1837) sat on top of the (Red) Lion Brewery for 100 years

Which was moved during the demolition of the brewery in 1949 –

To the Festival of Britain entrance at Waterloo Station in 1951 –

It is now (since 1966) on the east end of Westminster Bridge –


The small lion (assume also made in 1837) sat on the entrance gates of the (Red) Lion Brewery in Sutton Walk

It was also moved during demolition in 1949 –

I don’t think it made it to the Festival of Britain but has ended up above the central pillar of the Rowland Hill Memorial Gate (Gate 3) to the west of Twickenham Stadium – it was given a coat of gold in 1991 for the Rugby World Cup.