The Whipsnade White Lion, a 480-ft long chalk silhouette carved out of the English soil in the early 1930s, has been restored to its original majesty.
We ain't lion – the 147-meter (482-ft) long Whipsnade White Lion in Dunstable Downs was in dire need of a cosmetic touch-up. Over eight decades of English weather and blowing dust had dimmed and diminished the once-brilliant beast.
The leonine silhouette dates from 1933 (construction began two years earlier) when designer R.B. Brook-Greaves' masterpiece of exposed chalk first looked out across the meadows of Bedfordshire, in southeastern England's Chiltern Hills. The image above was taken by photographer Rob Farrow in early 2014.
The Whipsnade White Lion and the area around it are supervised and maintained by the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) Whipsnade Zoo. As such, the Zoo led the effort to restore the iconic animal carving to its original glory.
Naturally, a work so large required plenty of chalk – about 800 tons or 50 truckloads – and luckily a local homeowner engaged in digging out a basement was more than happy to donate the chalk! Anthony McGill's photo above dates from mid-November of 2017 and shows the Lion roughly two months after restoration had begun.
Finally, on March 19th of 2018, the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo announced the restoration of the Whipsnade White Lion had been completed. The brilliance of the freshly-deposited chalk recalls the dark days of World War II when the Lion was covered so that enemy bombers couldn't reference it as a navigation point.
“This new coating of chalk has made a huge difference to the eye-catching brilliance of the landmark,” stated Owen Craft, General Manager of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, “and I can't wait for all our Easter visitors, as well as our wonderful, local communities, to see it looking so great as they drive towards the Zoo.” Spoken with pride, to be sure. (via Dunstable Today)