The Lion At Gun Hill

Fusilier Rd, Gun Hill, Barbados
St. George
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Formerly a military outpost, the station at Gun Hill was once an important part of Barbadian history and is now a well-known tourist attraction on the island.  If you happen to be taking a drive around the country, we suggest a visit to St George with a stop by the lion.

As the story goes, the Lion at Gun Hill was hand-carved in 1868 by military personnel posted at the Signal Station.  Officer Captain Henry Wilkinson with the help of only four of his colleagues, - who were military labourers - were responsible for creating the famous piece. This statue is more than just an extraordinary piece of artwork but was meant to symbolize the control and power held by Britain over the world. At the time, Captain Henry and his associates meticulously carved the lion from a single piece of coral limestone to resemble The British imperial Lion. Balanced on three legs and the fourth authoritatively rested on a red sphere. Under the statue lies an inscription which quotes Psalms 72:8 translated from a Bible written in a Latin dialect, it says “Dominabtis a mari us ad mare a flumine us ad terminos orris” which in English translates to “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river, unto the ends of the earth”. 

The Lion at Gun Hill sits alone on a lovely hillside, accessible via a short walk up an inclined cement path from the lion’s position, the road below, lush vegetation and panoramic views of the island are visible. Although not as magnificent and extensive as the views from higher up at Gun Hill signal station, the view here is still quite impactful and in the distance, a green carpet of vegetation spreads out towards the sea. Houses and other buildings are scattered across the landscape, their sizes gradually diminishing with the distance. The trees shading the area around the Lion provide lovely perches for all sorts of birds, which can be heard chirping out angelic melodies overhead. A set of steps carved out in the coral stone rock face leads to an inviting seat just above the left shoulder of the Lion, where you can sit and marvel at the gorgeous view. 

This beautiful location is a monument that subtly reminds us of the era when Barbados was under British rule. Though a very dreary point in Barbados’ history it also showcases the tenacity of our nation and our ability to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. Many people visit the lion just to have a photo op and appreciate the creativity of the sculptors. When you visit the Lion at Gun Hill be sure to enjoy the great craftsmanship but do not forget to acknowledge and appreciate the story behind it and what it represents for us today.