London’s Smallest Sculpture

On a small strip of no-man’s land between two buildings on Philpot Lane in London, a pair of tiny mice are gnawing at a piece of cheese. This is London’s tiniest public sculpture, and the origin of these little creatures remains a mystery. A plaque indicates that the buildings were constructed in 1861-62, as an office for spice merchants, but it’s not known when the sculpted rodents appeared on the scene. The story behind the Philpot Lane Mice most often told is a tragic tale. Local legend has it that the mice were created to mark the tragic death of two workers involved in the construction of the nearby Monument to the Great Fire of London. The  workers were perched high in the air and took a break for lunch. One of the men noticed that his cheese sandwich had been nibbled at, leaving very little behind. He accused the worker next to him of eating the sandwich and the two men got into a scuffle, which resulted in them falling to their deaths. It was later discovered that the food had been eaten by mice. Today, the curious animals are still there, chewing away at their tiny treat.