London, the land of statues - Curt Yeomans

The 9-foot-tall, bronze statue standing on the side of an otherwise mundane London street shows a rather stoic man in a late-19th Century cape-coat, holding a calabash pipe just below his chin and wearing a deerstalker cap.

For anyone who isn't familiar with British literature, it would probably boggle their mind to come up the steps from the Baker Street Underground station to see this statue on a street that doesn't have THAT much tourist traffic - if it weren't for two distinct features.

First, the statue is on Baker Street. Second, the inscriptions at the bottom of the statue say: "The Great Detective" on one side, and "Sherlock Holmes" on another.

London is filled with statues. Now, I have to admit that Paris has its fair share of statues, but it's not as common to see a statue standing on the side of a street like you will find in London.

There is a plaza across the street from the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey that is filled with statues of former British Prime Ministers, including Winston Churchill.

A very ornate memorial to Queen Victoria - complete with a statue of the former monarch, several lions, Romanesque warriors, an Olympian and lots of angels -- stands in the public plaza in front of Buckingham Palace.

There are even statues of legendary American figures in London. A statue of Abraham Lincoln rising from a chair is located in Parliament Square. Meanwhile, a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., stands in Westminster Abbey.

And the tour of statues takes you back to Baker Street, to Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Naturally, the popular statues here are of David and Victoria Beckham, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. There are other statues as well, including very life-like renderings of the entire royal family (including Camilla). There is also a statue of Madonna, all glam-rocked-out, sitting on a couch in the first room of the museum in, appropriately enough, a spread-eagle position.

What's really entertaining is going into the "athletes" area to find, surprise, surprise, another statue of David Beckham and a bunch of soccer and rugby players that an American tourist wouldn't know, unless he or she is really up on those sports. But, then again, this is a British museum, so they get to put their sports figures in there.

There is also a statue of Tiger Woods, as a brief tip of the hat to American athletes, though.

Now let me point out something. The bench where "The Beatles" are sitting is a lesson in great reproduction, and really bad reproduction. The line-up from left to right is Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison.

As you go from left to right, Paul McCartney's statue looks exactly like he did in the early 1960's. "Ringo" looks mostly like Ringo. "John" kinda looks like John, and "George" looks NOTHING like George.

Of course, no one was paying attention to the Beatles statue the day I went to Madame Tussauds. I'm not saying it's because "George" didn't look like George, but rather, it's because it was placed between two popular statues. On one side is a statue of Michael Jackson, and on the other side, you can have your picture taken in a mock-up of the Oval Office, with a wax statue of Barack Obama.

Needless to say, I think London clearly deserves the designation of "city of the most statues" - among the places I've been.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.