Select year

Year of the Pig

Old Nick

February - Gareth

A small statue of a devil peering out of the upstairs window of the Quadrant Shopping Centre in Swansea.
This is a statue of a devil hidden in the Quadrant Shopping Centre in Swansea - definitely not the sort of thing you expect to see in an upstairs window of a high-street arcade, next-door to New Look.

In the 1890s, St Mary's Church in Swansea was due to be rebuilt and the job of designing the new building was put out to tender. One of the architects who was not selected felt particularly slighted. So slighted, in fact, that he bought the plot of land opposite, built a set of offices on it and in the window facing the church he placed a statue of a devil and said "When your church is destroyed and burnt to the ground, my devil will remain laughing".

In February 1941, St. Mary's Church was destroyed in the blitz - and the laughing devil survived.

In the 1950s and 60s the church was rebuilt, the office block was torn down and the devil went into hiding. By the 1980s the site was now a shopping centre and when the Old Nick statue was rediscovered (by now hiding in a garage in Gloucester) they decided, after some controversy, to place him back in an upstairs window.

Every time I'm in Swansea and on this street I try and get a photo of him, but it's quite tricky. The awning of the shopping centre and the glare of the window make it particularly difficult. Also, and perhaps deliberately, he's not really in direct line-of-site with the church any more. The corner of the building would surely obstruct his view - and his current position means he's now looking up the street that runs alongside the church, rather than directly at it.

What I'm saying is, if I were the Primark, I'd be worried.
And a little footer