Clifton poet Lynn Adgar has written a special poem
to allow the lions to tell us their story. The poem is read by one
of the lions (played here by actor William Fitzgerald).
Listen to the poem (28k)
(or read our text version)
Sarah Julian, A Sense of Place producer, explains why she decided
to make a programme about these lions:
"When looking into the legend and folklore of our county, I
was fascinated by the stories of the lions in slab square.
Theres the well known phrase meet you by the lions
a tradition which has gone on for generations.
Its also said that the lions roar when a virgin passes!
The Old Market Square also interested me, the largest
square in England, it hosts all kinds of visitors and workers, is
the place for celebrations and commemorations and it feels different
at different times of the day - so I decided the programme would
look at the life of the square, from the lions point of view!"
How do people in Nottingham feel about lions, Sarah says she was
"When recording material for this programme I expected to come
across plenty of stories about meeting by the lions, but what really
surprised me was the warmth people felt towards these stone creatures,
most had their own names for them and even thoughts on their characters."
Listen to people's thoughts about the lions (28k)
The lions introduce us to the characters of the
square - the tour guide who knows their history and fill us in on
the legends that surround the lions.
Margaret Harrison, blue badge tour guide for Nottingham insists
they do roar "Theyre practically as loud as Little John,
the bell in the Council House."
Listen to Margaret Harrison talk about the lions (28k)
We hear from the people who remember the square
before the lions arrived, the people who keep it clean, and the
homeless who sleep under the watchful eye of the lions.
Dennis Ashcroft, a former security officer who
sometimes spent up to 16 hours on the steps feels very strongly
about the square. He says its a special place:
"Its the rallying point for Nottinghamshire, its
where people come when a tragedy happens, for me, its like
the colours of a regiment."
Listen to Dennis Ashcroft's views of the square (28k)
The lions are probably best known as a place to
meet your date - Cathy Phethean of Ruddington recalls "One
time I was supposed to be meeting a boy by the lions, but I didnt
like the look of him so I walked straight past him."
These days, the tradition is still as strong, every Saturday night
clusters of people surround the lions waiting for their dates.The
programme brings the flavour of the square on a Saturday night.
Listen to Saturday night on Old Market Square (28k)
The left lion and his attendants
invite you to join them for Nottinghams Pride.
Listen to the audio