Sunday 24 April 2022

Iris and the Elephant

Iris and Janya 

As we started the walking tour of Chester our tour guide, Stephen Shakeshaft, showed us the statue of a baby elephant. Iris, who in one of her speeches admitted to “a passion for pachyderms”, is seen here sitting beside the statue.

The plaque in front reads:

“This baby Indian elephant is called


The bronze sculpture is a gift from Chester  Zoo to the people of Chester. To celebrate the strong friendship between the Zoo and the city. Janya means ‘Life’ in Hindi. It symbolises the Zoo’s global role in Wildlife conservation. She was gifted in 2010 by  the sculptress Annette Yarrow who grew up in India in the 1930s and 40s, there is a sculpture of another one year old elephant by Annette at Chester Zoo.
Annette’s sculpture is remarkably lifelike, it benefits from her first-hand experience of elephants. Inside nearby Chester Cathedral there is a 14th Century wooden carving of an elephant and castle on a bench and in the Quire. However, the medieval craftsman would never have seen a real elephant so it has a rather strange body… and hooves!
Please feel free to stroke and enjoy Janya. Please do not climb”.

Apparently is is supposed to be lucky to rub the elephant’s ears. Some members indulged in this superstition.


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