If someone issued a commission to jewellers to come up with something that says “London” to the viewer, I am sure we would be inundated with a swathe of humdrum tourist snaps and stereotypes.

Therefore I was amused to see in an unrelated exhibition, a piece of jewellery that probably says “London” more than most.

There’s a small exhibition in the Museum of London at the moment with displays by some of London’s current crop of jewellers. Not about London, just people who happen to work in London.

However, it was a piece by Frances Wadsworth-Jones that caught my eye for being very London, and very amusing.

Jewellery in the shape of pigeon shit.

IMG_0289OK, pigeons actually live everywhere, but for some reason they seem a particularly London icon, and pigeon shit is no less an issue.

It amused me.

The exhibition is open until the end of April next to the lower cafe area.


It does however, remind me of an issue that has been niggling for a while and something I might research further, and that is how “pigeon-aware” architects and building contractors are.

A prime example is some nice new lifts and a footbridge just installed at Denmark Hill station, and the carefully curved tops of the lifts have a pleasing little ledge under the canopy, which was instantly filled in with anti-pigeon spikes.

As the plastic spikes are fairly ugly, and yet  their requirement in such space deliberately designed into the structure also obvious, I am left pondering why the lift shafts were not designed without that little detail so as to negate the need for the use of ugly spikes.

Another location, Canning Town tube station is barely a decade old, but almost every surface is covered in pigeon spikes.

Half the problem is the humans — where there isn’t waste food there are no pigeons — but the other half does seem to be a question as to whether those who commission buildings add in a “what did you do to minimise pigeon roosting” clause into the design spec.

Something to ponder.


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  1. Greg Tingey says:

    Far too many (stupid & ignorant) people still LIKE “the nice birdies” & feed them …
    They have lice, fleas, ticks, & tape (& other intestinal) worms & carry many diseases communicable to humans.
    Rats are clean & nice to know, compared to London feral pigeons

  2. Margaret says:

    How brilliant to wear that jewellery to some grand function!

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