Sneinton Dragon – Nottinghamshire, England - Atlas Obscura
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Nottinghamshire, England

Sneinton Dragon

When the public was consulted about a new piece of street art, they naturally asked for an enormous metal dragon.  

The Sneinton Dragon is an impressive stainless steel sculpture by Nottingham-born artist Robert Stubley. Standing seven feet high and with a 15-foot wingspan, it lurks in the shade of the trees lining an urban street corner.

Sneinton was one of the first small villages to be absorbed into the city of Nottingham during its rapid 19th-century industrial boom, which saw the small village’s population explode to more than 20,000 people. By the early 20th century, this overcrowding had caused the area to become a poor and unhealthy district.

The poverty was so great that a prominent Edwardian historian attributed the population’s high infant mortality and disease rates to the predatory activity of a metaphorical monster he named “Slum.” Thankfully, conditions eventually improved.

During a local urban regeneration in 2006, the city council proposed a piece of street art to represent this now vibrant multicultural community and conducted a survey to ask local residents what they would like. Their answer: A big scary dragon. Whether this was to symbolize the hardships of the past, give a physical form to the beastly “Slum,” or just because dragons are cool is open to personal interpretation. 

Know Before You Go

The Dragon is rather large and not too hard to spot, lurking on the corner of Manvers Street and Sneinton Hermitage. It is worth walking along Sneinton Hermitage, where the remains of some of Nottingham's poorest cave dwellings are also visible.