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The Maiwand Lion: 'Unexpected discovery' beneath plaque

Aug 04, 2023

*This is an April Fools*

A LARGE unknown sum of money could be paid to change the ownership of Reading's most iconic statue after a recent ‘unexpected discovery’ lay beneath.

World-reowned chocolate company Cadbury is said to be in discussions with Reading Borough Council over the ownership of The Maiwand Lion in Forbury Gardens.

This comes after specialist conservation contractors who are currently working on repairing the statue have made an ‘unexpected discovery’.

Speaking to The Reading Chronicle, contractors said while attempting repairs that a workman found ‘a gap’ in the base of the statue filled with a metal box.

Maiwand Lion pictured around 1890 in Forbury Gardens (Image: Library)

The worker, who has asked to remain anonymous, said the box was locked but had become ‘so rusted’ the lid could 'easily be prised open'.

Inside he found several bulbs and what appeared to be a 'secret chocolate biscuit recipe', though the worker added it was hard to decipher the list due to the words being faded.

The borough council has been unable to confirm the contents of the box, that is believed to look suspiciously like a Huntley & Palmers biscuit tin.

However, it is believed the authority is in discussions with Cadburys which would like to purchase the statue and ultimately the contents of the 'secret recipe' found beneath.

Speaking to a Reading resident outside of the gardens today (April 1), they said: "Reading is known for beer, bulbs and biscuits and it appears two of the three have been discovered beneath the historic structure.

"A stones throw from the famous Huntley and Palmer site, it could well be a secret recipe left for someone to find one day."

The statue, which was created by George Blackall Simonds, a member of the town's famous Simonds Brewing family, is currently covered up while specialist repairs are being carried out.

Picture by Mike Swift (Image: Mike Swift)

This includes removing two bronze plaques to allow for stone repairs, cleaning and waxing of the bronze plaques, repairing indents in areas of the plinth, removing any vegetation around the plinth, thorough cleaning of the statue and plinth, and raking out and repointing of open joints.

Repairs are expected to be complete by the end of April.

The Reading Chronicle has asked Cadbury for a comment.

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*This is an April Fools*