Old Father Thames walks on water by Ian McKellen’s Limehouse pub

Statue appears in The Thames in front of Dunbar Wharf

Statue appears in The Thames in front of Dunbar Wharf - Credit: Archant

Old Father Thames has finally turned up on the foreshore on a bend in the wide, sweeping river.

A 9ft ‘fatherly’ figure standing on a 20ft plinth looking out on the tidal waters at Limehouse has mysteriously appeared on the waterfront.

The incoming surge reaches the top of the plinth at High Tide, giving the appearance of ‘Old Father Thames’ walking on water.

Business development director Kirsty Buxbom, whose wharfside apartment overlooks the statue, said: “A giant crane suddenly appeared and lowered it into the riverbed. The statue looks like it’s standing on the water when the tide is in—it’s wonderful.”

The statue is believed to be the work of ‘Angel of the North’ sculptor Anthony Gormley, one of a series dotted around the coast.


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The mystery was solved when the Port of London Authority this week revealed that it had granted a permit, following what is thought to be a deal when the sculptor sold the artwork to Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies—actor Sir Ian McKellen. It was erected close to Sir Ian’s Grapes pub in Narrow Street, Limehouse.

But Sir Ian, knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts, missed his cue when Old Father Thames arrived on Thursday. He is still touring in New Zealand.

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